Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 91–97 | Cite as

Richard Lake, an evaporite-karst depression in the Holbrook Basin, Arizona

  • James T. NealEmail author
  • Robert M. Colpitts


Richard Lake is a circular depression 35 km SE of Winslow, Arizona, about 1.6 km wide and with topographic closure of 15–23 m. The depression is 5 km south of McCauley Sinks, another depressed area about 2 km wide which contains some 40 large sinkholes. Richard Lake formerly contained water after heavy rains prior to headwater drainage modification, but is now dry most of the time. It is situated within the Moenkopi / Kaibab outcrop belt, with Coconino Sandstone at shallow depth, near the southwestern margin of the subsurface Permian evaporite deposit in the Holbrook Basin. Outcropping strata are predominantly limestone, but the salt-karst features result from collapse of these units into salt-dissolution cavities developed in the Corduroy Member of the Schnebly Hill Formation of the Sedona Group (formerly called the Supai Salt) that underlies the Coconino. Richard Lake is interpreted as a collapse depression containing concentric faults, pressure ridges, and a 200m wide sinkhole in the center. A second set of pressure ridges parallels the axis of the nearby western end of the Holbrook Anticline, trending generally N 30° W. In the alluvium at the bottom of the central sinkhole, two secondary piping drain holes were observed in early 1996. Northwest-trending fissures also were observed on the depression flanks, essentially parallel to the regional structure.

The presence of Richard Lake amidst the preponderance of salt-karst features along the Holbrook Anticline suggests a similar origin by salt dissolution, but with distinct manifestation resulting from variation in overburden thickness and consolidation. Similarities of origin between Richard Lake and McCauley Sinks seem likely, because of their similar geological setting, size, appearance, and proximity. Two lesser developed depressions of smaller dimensions occur in tandem, immediately west along a N 62°W azimuth. Secondary sinkholes occur within each of these depressions, as at Richard Lake. Breccia pipes are apt to be found beneath all of these structures.


Halite Evaporite Colorado Plateau Breccia Pipe Pressure Ridge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. ADAMS, J., 1982, Stress-relief buckles in the McFarland Quarry, Ottawa:Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 19, p. 1883–1887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. BACHMAN, G.O., 1987, Karst in evaporites in southeastern New Mexico:Sandia National Laboratories Report SAND86-7078, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 82 p.Google Scholar
  3. BAHR, C.W., 1962, The Holbrook Anticline, Navajo County, Arizona:New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook, v. 13, p. 118–122.Google Scholar
  4. BROWN, S.C. and LAUTH, R.E., 1958, Generalized geologic cross-sections of the Black Mesa Basin:New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook, v. 9, pocket maps.Google Scholar
  5. DARTON, N.H., 1925, A resume of Arizona geology:Tucson Arizona Bureau Mines Bulletin 119, 298 p.Google Scholar
  6. DAVIS, G.H., 1978, Monocline fold pattern of the Colorado Plateau.In Matthews, V. III, Laramide folding associated with basement block faulting in the western United States:Geological Society of America Memoir, v. 151, p. 215–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. DOERINGSFELD, AMUEDO and IVEY, 1958, Generalized tectonic map of the Black Mesa Basin showing major structural features:In 9th New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook, Socorro, p. 145.Google Scholar
  8. HARRELL, M.A. and ECKEL, E.E., 1939, Ground-water resources of the Holbrook region, Arizona, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC:U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 836-B, 105 p.Google Scholar
  9. HOLM, D. A., 1938, The oil possibilities of Arizona. Arizona State Land Department, 47 p.Google Scholar
  10. JOHNSON, P.W., 1962, Water in the Coconino Sandstone for the Snowflake-Hay Hollow area, Navajo County, Arizona. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC:U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1539-S, 45 p.Google Scholar
  11. JOHNSON, K.S. and GONZALEZ, S., 1978, Salt deposits in the United States and regional geologic characteristics important for storage of radioactive waste. U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, TN:Office of Waste Isolation Report Y/SUB/7414/1, 188 p.Google Scholar
  12. KELLEY, V.C. and CLINTON, N.J., 1960, Fracture systems and tectonic elements of the Colorado Plateau. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque:University of New Mexico Publications in Geology No. 6.Google Scholar
  13. LAMBERT, S.J., 1983, Dissolution of evaporites in and around the Delaware Basin, southeastern New Mexico and West Texas:Sandia National Laboratories Report SAND82-0461, Albuquerque, NM, 96 p.Google Scholar
  14. LUCCHITTA, L., 1979, Late Cenozoic uplift of the southwestern Colorado Plateau and adjacent lower Colorado River region,in McGetchin, T.R. and Merrill, R.B., Plateau Uplift: mode and mechanism:Tectonophysics, v. 61, p. 63–95.Google Scholar
  15. MYTTON, J.W., 1973, Two salt structures in Arizona: The Supai salt basin and the Luke salt body,U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report-4393-3: Washington, DC, 40 p.Google Scholar
  16. NEAL, J.T. and COLPITTS, R.M., 1997, Evaporite karst in the western part of the Holbrook Basin, Arizonain Beck, B.F. and Stephenson, J.B., (eds.), The Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of Karst Terranes, A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands, p. 107–115.Google Scholar
  17. NICHOLSON, A., Jr. and CLEBSCH, A., Jr., 1961, Geology and groundwater conditions in southern Lea County, New Mexico:U.S. Geological Survey and New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Ground Water Report 6, 123 p.Google Scholar
  18. PEIRCE, H.W., KEITH, S.B., and WILT, J.C., 1970, Coal, oil, natural gas, helium, and uranium in Arizona:Arizona Bureau of Mines Bulletin 182, Tucson, 289 p.Google Scholar
  19. PEIRCE, H.W., 1981, Major Arizona salt deposits: Arizona Geological Survey, Tucson:Fieldnotes, v. 11, p. 1–5.Google Scholar
  20. RAMSEY, J.G., 1967, Folding and fracturing of rocks. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 568 p.Google Scholar
  21. ROORDA, J., 1995, The mechanics of a pop-up: a stress relief phenomena:Canadian Geotechnical Journal, v. 32, p. 368–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. SANFORD, A.R., 1959, Analytical and experimental study of simple geologic structures:Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 70, p. 19–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. SMITH, G.I. and STREET-PERROTT, F.A., Pluvial lakes of the western United States,in Porter, S. C., ed., The late Pleistocene, v. 1, Late Quaternary environments of the United States: Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, p. 190–212.Google Scholar
  24. SNYDER, R.P. and GARD, L.M., Jr., 1982, Evaluation of breccia pipes in southeastern New Mexico and their relation to the WIPP site:U.S. Geological Survey, Open-file Report 82-968, Washington, DC, 73 p.Google Scholar
  25. SUPPE, J., 1985, Principles of Structural Geology. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 537 p.Google Scholar
  26. WILLIAMS, H.R., CORKERY, D., and LOREK, E.G., 1985, A study of joints and stress-relief buckles in Paleozoic rocks of the Niagara Peninsula, southern Ontario:Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 22, p. 296–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. WILSON, E.D., MOORE, R.T., and O’HAIRE, R.T., 1960, Geologic map of Navajo and Apache Counties, Arizona: Arizona Bureau of Mines, Tucson.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Prescott
  2. 2.Sun Valley

Personalised recommendations