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North Atlantic Rifting in Relation to Permian-Triassic Salt Deposition
The time of the opening of the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and North America, as dated by deep-sea drilling and sea-floor spreading magnetic anomalies, coincides with the accepted time of the formation of the Louann Salt. Referenced analysis of the Louann Salt indicates formation from a concentrated brine, suggesting a two-stage process. We propose that oceanic waters already concentrated by evaporation to the point of halite deposition on the borders of the Mediterranean were concentrated further by volcanism in the narrow rift of the Atlantic. The resulting brine river flowing continuously in the newly-formed rift was responsible for the deposition of the Louann Salt in the newly-formed Gulf Coast basin. The volume of salt removed from the world ocean system caused a permanent reduction in salinity which may explain extinctions of certain marine species at this time.
Paleogeographic reconstruction figures are used to illustrate proposed evolution of the Gulf of Mexico, North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
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