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Surface Salt Structures in Northwest China

Cindy M. Colon, Rowena Lohman, and Alexander G. Webb

Salt tectonics is central to petroleum exploration, but there are very few accessible salt exposures. Therefore the unexplored salt glaciers, sheets, and thrusts of the Kuqa belt represent an important economic and scientific opportunity. The Kuqa foreland fold thrust belt accommodates north-south compression between the Tian Shan to the north and the Tarim basin to the south. A variety of salt structures of Miocene sequences have surfaced in the belt, forming structures that include salt glaciers, salt sheets, salt walls, diapirs, detached anticlines, growth synclines, box-fold anticlines etc. They are probably the best-exposed and best-preserved salt structures in China. Using a remote sensing technique called interferometry of synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) and a time-series analysis I will be able to resolve the ~monthly to ~decadal kinematic history of these sub-aerial salt structures. These methods allow measurement of the continuous spatiotemporal evolution of surface deformation, which can be used to characterize and understand the kinematic behavior of salt on Earth’s surface.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90182©2013 AAPG/SEG Student Expo, Houston, Texas, September 16-17, 2013