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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 25 (1941)

Issue: 2. (February)

First Page: 287

Last Page: 299

Title: Pre-Cambrian Zeolite-Opal Sediments in Wichita Mountains, Oklahoma

Author(s): C. A. Merritt (2), W. E. Ham (2)


Rocks of a unique type have been recently discovered in the Wichita Mountains of southwestern Oklahoma. Composed principally of zeolites and opal, with variable amounts of dolomite and calcite, these rocks occur as four scattered outcrops in Kiowa County. They appear to be stratified and have a maximum thickness of 47 feet. The name "Tepee Creek" is given to these zeolite-opal rocks.

The Tepee Creek sediments rest with an erosional unconformity on anorthosite and contain rounded pebbles of that igneous rock. The formation, furthermore, is intruded by several small granite dikes of pre-Cambrian age. The unconformity, the zeolite-opal rocks, and the period of igneous activity represented by the granite dikes have not been previously recognized.

Evidence is presented to show that the zeolites and opal have formed by the alteration of a sediment which was essentially an anorthosite-graywacke, with some beds containing dolomite and perhaps limestone. The zeolites, chiefly natrolite, and the opal are secondary. The zeolites probably were derived diagenetically by the action of saline waters of a pre-Cambrian sea on the labradorite of the detrital anorthosite. The opal may be partly diagenetic but some of it is later, for it replaces natrolite.

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