Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 53–63 | Cite as

Dissolution-collapse breccias and paleokarst resulting from dissolution of evaporite rocks, especially sulfates

  • Gerald M. Friedman


The lithological trinity of dolostone, limestone, and sulfates (anhydrite and/or gypsum) is subject to rapid dissolution of the sulfates and leads to the development of dissolution-collapse breccias resulting from the withdrawal of the sulfates. The resultant features commonly include spectacular dissolution-collapse breccias. Owing to their mobility and chemical instability evaporite rocks, such as gypsum and anhydrite, are highly soluble and can be dissolved rapidly to form karstic features.

When anhydrite and/or gypsum are dissolved the overlying continuous strata of carbonate rocks collapse, generating dissolution-collapse breccia composed of carbonate clasts. Such dissolution-collapse breccias as a result of dissolution of gypsum and/or anhydrite are more common worldwide than the literature suggests.

Evaporite karst interferes with human activity, including highways, buildings, canals, and agriculture.

A Cretaceous deposit composed of dolostone, limestone, and anhydrite breccia set in a carbonate matrix has been interpreted as the result of asteroid- or comet collision. An origin as evaporite paleokarst could explain the formation of this same breccia.

In the Williston Basin of Montana anhydrites form the caps of basin-wide peritidal cycles in successions which brine upward. The supratidal cycle caps are zones of anhydrite leaching and creation of dissolution-collapse breccia.

Cambro-Lower Ordovician (Sauk) platform cycles in the Appalachian Basin are composed of peritidal upward-shallowing carbonate facies which show evidence of ultimate emergence. The sulfates in the cycle caps have entirely dissolved out and the paleokarst serves as testament to their former presence.


Gypsum Breccia Ordovician Anhydrite Evaporite 
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. ALGEO, T.J. and WILKINSON, B.H., 1988, Periodicity of mesoscale Phanerozoic sedimentary cycles and the role of Milankovitch orbital modulation:Journal of Geology, v. 96, p. 313–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. ANDRICHUK, J.M., 1955, Mississippian Madison stratigraphy and sedimentation in Wyoming and southern Montana:American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 39, p. 2170–2210.Google Scholar
  3. BEALES, F.W. and OLDERSHAW, A.E., 1969, Evaporite-solution brecciation and Devonian carbonate reservoir porosity in westem Canada:American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 53, p. 503–512.Google Scholar
  4. BLOUNT, D.N. and MOORE, C.H., Jr., 1969, Depositional (sic) and nondepositional carbonate breccias, Chiantla Quadrangle, Guatemala:Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 80, p. 429–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. BOND, G.C., NICKERSON, P.A., and KOMINZ, M.A., 1984, Breakup of a supercontinent between 625 Ma and 555 Ma: new evidence and implications for continental histories:Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 70, p. 325–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. BOWLES, C.G. and BRADDOCK, W.A., 1963, Solution breccias of the Minnelusa Formation in the Black Hills, South Dakota and Wyoming:U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 475-C, p. C91–C95.Google Scholar
  7. BOWES, C.G. and BRADDOCK, W.A., 1963, Solution (sic) breccias of the Minnelusa Formation in the Black Hills, South Dakota and Wyoming:U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 475-C, p. C91–C95.Google Scholar
  8. BRÜCKER, W., 1941, Uber die Entstehung der Rauhwacken und Zellendolomite:Eclogae Geologie Helvetica, v. 34, p. 117–134.Google Scholar
  9. CAÑAVERAS, J.C., SÁNCHEZ-MORAL, S., CALVO, J.P., HOYOS, M. and ORDÓÑEZ, S., 1996, Dedolomites associated with karstification. An example of early dedolomitization in Lacustrine Sequences from the Tertiary Madrid Basin, Central Spain:Carbonates and Evaporites, v. 11, p. 85–103.Google Scholar
  10. COROZZI, A.V., 1963, Half-moon oölites:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 33, p. 633–645.Google Scholar
  11. CHUANMAO, LIANG, FRIEDMAN, G.M., and ZHAOCHANG, ZHENG, 1993, Carbonate storm deposits (tempestites) of Middle to Upper Cambrian age in the Helen Mountains, northwest China:Carbonates and Evaporites, v. 8, p. 181–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. CLIFTON, H.E., 1967, Solution-collapse and cavity filling in the windsor Group, Nova Scotia, Canada:Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 78, p. 822, 826, 828, and 830.Google Scholar
  13. COOPER, A.H., 1996, Gypsum dissolution geohazards:Geoscientist, v. 6, p. 18–19.Google Scholar
  14. CURL, M.W., ZAGORSKI, T.W., and FRIEDMAN, G.M., 1984, Depositional Environments and Diagenesis of Subsurface Tribes Hill Fomation (Lower Ordovician), Mohawk Valley, New York:The Compass of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, v. 61, p. 216–243.Google Scholar
  15. DENSON, M.E.Jr. and MORRISEY, N.S., 1954, Subsurface correlations within the Madison Group, Bighom and Wind River Basins: Billings Geological Society, 5th Annual Field Conference Guidebook, p. 44–49.Google Scholar
  16. DOUGLAS, R.J.W., 1953, Carboniferous stratigraphy in the southern foothills of Alberta: Alberta Society of Petroleum Geologists 3rd Annual Field Conference Guidebook, p. 68–88.Google Scholar
  17. FOLK, R.L., TIEZZI, P.A., PURSELL, V.J., GRABER, E.R., GREENBERG, J.G. and MILLER, JAMES, 1993, Overtumed Geopedal Structures Formed By Solution of Sulfates, Triassic (Rhaetian) Porto Limestone, Portovenere Area (La Spezia), Liguria, Italy:Carbonates and Evaporites, v. 8, p. 39–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. FRIEDMAN, G.M., 1994a, Stacking pattems of cyclic parasequences in Cambro-Ordovician carbonates of Eastern New York and Western Vermont:Northeastern Geology, v. 16, p. 145–157.Google Scholar
  19. FRIEDMAN, G.M., 1994b, Upper Cambrian-Lower Ordovician (Sauk) platform carbonates of the northern Appalachian (Gondwana) passive margin:Carbonates and Evaporites, v. 9, p. 143–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. FRIEDMAN, G.M., 1995a, Unconformities and porosity development in carbonate strata: Ideas from a Hedberg Conference: Discussion:American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 79, p. 1182–1184.Google Scholar
  21. FRIEDMAN, G.M., 1995b, Cambro-Lower Ordovician (Sauk) facies and sequences: case history from eastern North America: p. 1–9,in Pause, P.H. and Candelaria, M.P. editors, Permian Basin Section SEPM publication 95–36 and Permian Basin Graduate Center, publication 5-95.Google Scholar
  22. FRIEDMAN, G.M., 1996a, Early Ordovician reef mounds of the Tribes Hill Formation, Mohawk Valley, New York:Carbonates and Evaporites, v. 11, p. 226–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. FRIEDMAN, G.M., 1996b, Yucatán subsurface stratigraphy: implications and constrains for the Chicxulub impact: discussion:Carbonates and Evaporites, v. 11, p. 141–142.Google Scholar
  24. FRIEDMAN, G.M. and RADKE, BRUCE, 1979, Evidence for sabkha overprint and conditions of intermittent emergence in Cambrian-Ordovician carbonates of northeastern North America and Queensland, Australia:Northeastern Geology, v. 1, p. 18–42.Google Scholar
  25. FRIEDMAN, G.M., RUZYLA, KENNETH, and REECKMANN, ANNE, 1981, Effects of porosity type, pore geometry, and diagenetic history on tertiary recovery of petroleum from carbonate reservoirs: U.S. Department of Energy, DOE/MC/11580-5; Distribution Category UC-92a, Contract No. DE-AC21-79MC11580, Available from the National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, Springfield, Virginia 22161, 217p.Google Scholar
  26. FRIEDMAN, G.M., and SANDERS, J.E., 1967, Origin and occurrence of dolostonesin Chilingar, G.V., Bissell, H.J., and Fairbridge, R.W. (eds.) Carbonate rocks, origin, occurrence, and classification, p. 267–348, Amsterdam, Elsevier Publishing Company, 471 p.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. FRIEDMAN, G.M. and SANDERS, J.E., 1978, Principles of Sedimentology. New York, John Wiley, 792p.Google Scholar
  28. FRIEDMAN, G.M., SANDERS, J.E., and KOPASKA-MERKEL, D.C., 1992, Principles of Sedimentary deposits: Stratigraphy and Sedimentology. New York, Macmillan Publishing Co., 717 p.Google Scholar
  29. GUTIÉRREZ, FRANCISCO, 1996, Gypsum karstification induced subsidence: effects on alluvial systems and derived geohazards (Calatayud Graben, Iberian Range, Spain):Geomorphology, v. 16, p. 277–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. HADLEY, H.D., 1950, The Charles problem: Billings Geological Society, 1st Annual Field Conference Guidebook, p. 44–46.Google Scholar
  31. HARDAGE, B.A., CARR, D.L., LANCASTER, D.E., SIMMONS, J.L., Jr., ELPHICK, R.Y., PENDLETON, V.M., and JOHNS, R.A., 1996, 3D seismic evidence of the effects of carbonate clast collapse on overlying clastic stratigraphy and reservoir compartmentalization:Geophysics, v. 61, p. 1336–1350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. HARDIE, L.A., 1967, The gypsum-anhidrite equilibrium at one atmosphere. pressure:American Mineralogist, v. 52, p. 171–199.Google Scholar
  33. HARRIS, L.D., 1969, Kingsport Formation and Mascot Dolomite (Lower Ordovician) of east Tennessee:Tennessee Division of Geological Report of Investigations, v. 23, p. 1–39.Google Scholar
  34. HARWOOD, G.M., SMITH, D.B., LEE, M.R., and KENDALL, A.C., 1990, Carbonate-evaporite sedimentation in the Zechstein Basin, Northeast England: Field Trip Guide, Sediments, 1990, International Congress of Sedimentology, 63 p.Google Scholar
  35. JAMES, A.N., 1992, Soluble materials in civil engineering. Ellis Horwood Ltd. England.Google Scholar
  36. JAMES, A.N., COOPER, A.H., and HOLLIDAY, D.W., 1981, Solution of the gypsum cliff (Permian Middle Marl) by the River Ure at Ripon Parks, North Yorkshire:Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, v. 43, p. 433–450.Google Scholar
  37. KINSMAN, D.J.J., 1969, Modes of formation, sedimentary associations, and diagnostic features of shallow-water and supratidal evaporites:Bulletin of American Association of Petroleum Geologists, v. 53, p. 830–840.Google Scholar
  38. KLIMCHOUK, A.B., 1992, Large gypsum caves in the Westem Ukraine and their genesis:Cave Science, v. 19, p. 3–11.Google Scholar
  39. LANDES, K.K., 1945, The Mackinac Breccia:Michigan Geological Survey Publication 44, p. 121–154.Google Scholar
  40. LANDES, K.K., 1948, Salt basin in collapse (abs.):Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 59, p. 1334.Google Scholar
  41. LAUDON, L.R. and SEVERSON, J.L., 1953, New crinoid fauna, Mississippian, Lodgepole Formation, Montana:Journal of Paleontology, v. 27, p. 505–536.Google Scholar
  42. LEINE, L., 1968, Rauhwackes in the Betic Cordilleras, Spain-Nomenclature, description and genesis of weathered carbonate breccial of tectonic origin, Amsterdam. Printed Thesis, Universitat Amsterdam, Culemborg, N.V. Princo, 112p.Google Scholar
  43. MCWHAE, J.R.H., 1953, The Carboniferous breccias of Bellefjorden, Vestspitsbergen:Geological Magazine, v. 90, p. 287–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. MIDDLETON, G.V., 1961, Evaporite Solution Breccias From the Mississippian of Southwest Montana:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 31, p. 189–195.Google Scholar
  45. MORROW, D.W., 1982, Descriptive Field Classification of Sedimentary and Diagenetic Breccia Fabrics in Carbonate Rocks: Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, v. 30, p. 227–229.Google Scholar
  46. MURRAY, R.C., 1960, Origin of porosity in carbonate rocks:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 30, p. 59–84.Google Scholar
  47. NORDQUIST, J.W., 1953, Mississippian stratigraphy of northem Montana: Billings Geological Society 4th Annual Field Conference Guidebook, p. 68–82.Google Scholar
  48. NORTON, W.H., 1917, A classification of breccias:Journal of Geology, v. 25, p. 160–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. PALMER, A.N., 1995, Geochemical models for the origin of macroscopic solution porosity in carbonate rocks, p. 77–101in David A. Budd, Arthur H. Saller, and Paul M. Harris, eds., Unconformities and Porosity in Carbonate Strata:American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 63, 313 p.Google Scholar
  50. PALMER, A.N. and PALMER, M.N., 1989, Geologichistory of the Black Hills caves, South Dakota:National Speleological Society Bulletin, v. 51, p. 72–99.Google Scholar
  51. PAUKSTYS, BERNARDAS, 1996, Karst ground water protection: Lithuaniain 30th International Geological Congress, Beijing, China, 4–14 August 1996, Abstracts, v. 3, p. 316.Google Scholar
  52. PONSJACK, E., 1940, Deposition of calcium sulphate from sea water:American Journal of Science, v. 239, p. 559–568.Google Scholar
  53. REYNOLDS, S.H., 1928, Breccias:Geological Magazine, v. 65, p. 97–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. RIEDMÜLLER, G., 1976, Genese und charakteristik der Rauhwacken im Pittental (Niederosterreich):Geologische Rundschau, v. 65, p. 290–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. ROBERTS, A.E., 1966, Stratigraphy of Madison Group near Livingston, Montana, and discussion of karst and solution breccia features:U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 526-B, p. B1–B23.Google Scholar
  56. ROEHL, P.O., 1967, Stony Mountain (Ordovician) and Interlake (Silurian) facies analogues of Recent low-energy marine and subaerial carbonates, Bahamas:Bulletin of American Association of Petroleum Geologists, v. 51, p. 1979–2032.Google Scholar
  57. RUZYLA, KENNETH and FRIEDMAN, G.M., 1982, Geological heterogeneities important to future enhanced recovery in carbonate reservoirs of Upper Ordovician Red River Formation at Cabin Creek Field, Montana:Society Petroleum Engineers Journal, v. 22, p. 429–444.Google Scholar
  58. RUZYLA, KENNETH and FRIEDMAN, G.M., 1985, Factors controlling porosity in dolomite reservoirs of the Ordovician Red River Formation, Cabin Creek Field Montanain Carbonate petroleum reservoirs, Roehl, P.O. et al. (eds.), in the collection Casebooks in earth science, Springer-Verlag, New York, NY United States, p. 39–58.Google Scholar
  59. SALLER, A.H., BUDD, D.A. and HARRIS, P.M., 1994, Unconformities and Porosity Development in Carbonate Strata: Ideas from a Hedberg Conference:American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 78, p. 857–872.Google Scholar
  60. SANDO, W.J., 1974, Ancient solution (sic) phenomena in the Madison Limestone (Mississippian) of north-central Wyoming:U.S. Geological Survey Journal of Research, v. 2, p. 133–141.Google Scholar
  61. SANDO, W.J., 1988, Madison Limestone (Mississippian) paleokarst: a geologic synthesis,in N.P. James and P.W. Choquette, eds., Paleokarst: New York, Springer-Verlag, p. 256–277.Google Scholar
  62. SCHURAYTZ, B.C., SHARPTON, V.L., and MARIN, L.E., 1994, Petrology of impact-melt rocks at the Chicxulub multiring basin, Yucatan, Mexico:Geology, v. 22, p. 868–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. SLOSS, L.L., 1952, Introduction to the Mississippian of the Williston Basin: Billings Geological Society 3rd Annual Field Conference Guidebook, p. 65–69.Google Scholar
  64. SMITH, D.B., 1995, Marine Permian of England. Chapman & Hall, 205 p.Google Scholar
  65. STANTON, R.J., 1966, The solution brecciation process:Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 77, p. 843–848.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. STANTON, R.J., Jr., 1978, Solution (sic) breccias, p. 751–753in Fairbridge, R.W. and Bourgeois Joanne, eds., The encyclopedia of sedimentology: Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences, volume VI: Stroudsburg, PA, Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Inc., 901 p.Google Scholar
  67. STEARN, C.W., 1956, Type section of the Shunda Formation:Alberta Society of Petroleum Geologists Journal, v. 4, p. 237–239.Google Scholar
  68. SWENNEN, R., VIAENE, W., and CORNELISSEN, C., 1990, Petrography (sic) and geochemistry of the Belle Roche breccia (lower Visean, Belgium): evidence of brecciation by evaporite dissolution:Sedimentology, v. 37, p. 859–878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. TOULEMONT, M., 1984, Le karst gypseux du Lutétien supérieur de la région parisienne. Caractéristiques et impact sur le millieu urbain:Révue de Géologie Dynamique et de Géographie Physique, v. 25, p. 213–328.Google Scholar
  70. VAN WAGONER, J.C., 1985, Reservoir facies distribution as controlled by sealevel change: Abstract and Poster Session, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists Mid-Year Meeting, p. 91–92.Google Scholar
  71. VAUGHAN, F.R. and MEYERS, W.J., 1976, Diagenesis and origin of the Arroyo Peñasco collapse breccia, North Central New Mexico: Abstracts with Programs, Geological Society of America, p. 1152–1153.Google Scholar
  72. WARD, W.C., KELLER, G., STINNESBECK, W., and ADATTE, T., 1995, Yucatán subsurface stratigraphy: Implications and constraints for the Chicxulub impact:Geology, v. 23, p. 873–876.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. WARD, W.C., 1996, Yucatan subsurface stratigraphy: implications and constraints for the Chicxulub impact: reply:Carbonates and Evaporites, v. 11, p. 142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyBrooklyn College and Graduate School of the City University of New YorkBrooklyn
  2. 2.Rensselaer Center of Applied GeologyNortheastern Science Foundation affiliated with Brooklyn CollegeTroy

Personalised recommendations