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Four evaporite-bearing stratigraphic zones are known in Cretaceous strata of the Cordillera Oriental of Colombia north and east of Bogota. The easternmost and oldest zone is probably of Berriasian to Valanginian age. The next oldest is probably late Barremian to early Aptian in age. The third appears to be Aptian. The westernmost and best known sequence in the Sabana de Bogota is Turonian to early Coniacian in age. This youngest sequence contains the thickest salt deposits known in Colombia and is probably the most widespread geographically.
Most of the rock salt exposed in the three accessible mines (at Zipaquira, Nemocon, and Upin) has a characteristic lamination of alternating slightly argillaceous and highly argillaceous salt layers of varied but moderate thickness. Black, calcareous claystone, commonly very pyritic, is interbedded conformably with the laminated salt in many places throughout the deposits. Fragments of black claystone derived from the thinner interbeds are ubiquitous in all deposits, both as concordant breccia zones and as isolated clasts.
Anhydrite is scarce at Zipaquira and apparently even rarer at Nemocon and Upin. Gypsum is produced at three small deposits in the oldest evaporite zone where it probably was concentrated by leaching of salt initially associated with it.
The two intervening evaporite zones are not exposed, but their existence and distribution are indicated by brine springs and locally by "rute," a distinctive black, calcareous mud formed by the leaching of salt beds.
Fossils show that the youngest salt-claystone zone, in the Sabana de Bogota, is contemporary with associated hematitic sandstone and siltstone, and with carbonaceous and locally coaly claystone. Although evidence is poor, this same facies relation probably exists within the other three evaporite zones.
All salt deposits in this study probably are associated with anticlines, a relation best exemplified by the deposits on the Sabana de Bogota. Within these anticlines the salt deposits appear to be contained stratigraphically in fault-bound crestal, claystone cores that have not been mobilized over great vertical distances. The deposits of this study are not salt domes.
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