--> --> ‘Potash identification plot (PID) for rapid identification of commercial potash deposits’

AAPG Pacific Section and Rocky Mountain Section Joint Meeting

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‘Potash identification plot (PID) for rapid identification of commercial potash deposits’


The mineralogy of McNutt ‘Potash’ member of the Salado Formation in SE New Mexico, is extremely complex, consisting of:

  • Six (radioactive) potash minerals, only two of which are commercial.
  • Radioactive, non-potash ‘Claystones’ and ‘Marker Beds’.
  • Four non-radioactive evaporite minerals, one of which interferes with potash milling chemistry. Because of this complexity, traditional wireline and Logging While Drilling Potash Assay techniques, such as Gamma Ray log to core assay transforms, linear programming, and multi-mineral analyses are not effective.
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    Numerous oil and gas wells, in the area, have cased hole gamma ray and neutron logs, through the Salado Evaporite, run for stratigraphic and structural correlation. The logs, from these wells could provide a rapid screening database, if used properly. A simple screening cross-plot technique utilizing only Gamma Ray and Neutron Porosity, is proposed and successfully demonstrated for potash deposits in Michigan, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan, as well as SE New Mexico. This technique allows utilization of both open and cased-hole petroleum well and core hole logs and provides rapid discrimination of commercial potash mineralization from non-commercial radioactive mineralization.