Paradox Basin evaporites

Region West, Southwest
Mineral systems
Deposit types
Critical minerals
Other minerals

Information leading to the delineation of this focus area

Basis for focus area Outline of extent of potash evaporite mineralization (as KCl) in the Paradox Basin; outline from Hite and Cater (1972).
Identified resources Identified resources of potash. Historical production of potash and salt.
Production About 1.2 million stu of KCl produced from 2007-2018. Potash production began in 1964.
Status Past and current potash mining and exploration; past magnesium exploration.
Estimated resources Intrepid Potash has 26 million stu of proven and probable KCl reserves at their active mine (Intrepid Potash, 2021); Stirrett and Han (2020) reported an Inferred potash resource of 65.7 Mt at 42.7% KCl plus 49.6 Mt at 35.8% KCl at the Sage Plain project. Santos and Gilbride (2013) reported 902 Mt at 20% KCl at the Hatch Point project.
Geologic maps Horton and others (2017), scale 1:500,000.
Geophysical data Inadequate aeromagnetic coverage and partly adequate (5%) aeroradiometric coverage.
Favorable rocks and structures Pennsylvanian Paradox Formation hosts the favorable evaporites.
Deposits Pennsylvanian Paradox Formation evaporites (potash).
Evidence from mineral occurrences UMOS (Utah Geological Survey, 2021).
Geochemical evidence Intrepid Potash's reserves show average ore grade from 44 to 46% KCl (Intrepid Potash, 2021); drilling at the Sage Plain project showed a 7.3 m potash bed averaging 43% KCl and a 5.5 m bed averaging 36% KCl in cycle 18 (Stirrett and Han, 2020). Hite (1978) included analyses showing potash beds with up to 33% K2O in the Lisbon Valley area. Numerous other publications, such as Massoth (2012) and Santos and Gilbride (2013), also include potash grade data.
Geophysical evidence Unknown.
Evidence from other sources Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining's Live Data Search, Online Oil and Gas Information System (
Comments Extensive literature and publications are available detailing the potash deposits in the Paradox Basin. This table only includes a few of those references. A helpful summary publication is Massoth (2012). No good potash resource estimates are currently available for the Paradox Basin as a whole.
Cover thickness and description Potash deposits are generally a few thousand to several thousand feet below the ground surface.
Authors Andrew Rupke.
New data needs Geochemical analysis of existing potash core.
Geologic mapping and modeling needs None requested at this time.
Geophysical survey and modeling needs None requested at this time.
Digital elevation data needs Lidar inadequate.