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Open-File Report 2015–1121

Phosphate Occurrence and Potential in the Region of Afghanistan, Including Parts of China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan

By G.J. Orris, Pamela Dunlap, and John C. Wallis

With a section on geophysics by Jeff Wynn 

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (26.7 MB)Abstract

As part of a larger study, the U.S. Geological Survey undertook a study to identify the potential for phosphate deposits in Afghanistan. As part of this study, a geographic information system was constructed containing a database of phosphate occurrences in Afghanistan and adjacent countries, and a database of potential host lithologies compiled from 1:1,000,000 scale maps. Within Afghanistan, a handful of known occurrences and reports indicate the presence of phosphate in Permian, Cretaceous, and Paleogene sediments and in carbonatite. With the exception of the Khanneshin carbonatite, very little is known about these occurrences. In the countries surrounding Afghanistan, economic phosphate is known to occur in Cambrian, Devonian, and Paleogene sediments and in Kiruna-type Fe-apatite deposits. Many of the host units may extend into Afghanistan or equivalent units may be present. Although the possibility of economic phosphate deposits exist for Afghanistan, the need for detailed exploration for phosphate, the remoteness of some locations, and the probability that a deposit would not be exposed at the surface mean that one or more deposits are not likely to be identified in the near future. Even if a phosphate-bearing deposit is identified in Afghanistan, it is not clear if the probable size, thickness, and grade ranges would allow economic development of the hypothesized resource.

First posted July 16, 2015

This publication is online only

For additional information, contact:
Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 901
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591

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Suggested citation:

Orris, G.J., Dunlap, Pamela, and Wallis, J.C., 2015, Phosphate occurrence and potential in the region of Afghanistan, including parts of China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, with a section on geophysics by Jeff Wynn: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1121, 70 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)




Phosphate Rock

Known Resources of the Region

Neoproterozoic–Cambrian Sedimentary Phosphate

Ordovician Sedimentary Phosphate

Devonian Sedimentary Phosphate

Permian Sedimentary Phosphate

Triassic-Jurassic Sedimentary Phosphate

Cretaceous Sedimentary Phosphate

Paleogene Sedimentary Phosphate

Neogene Sedimentary Phosphate

Igneous Phosphate- Carbonatites

Igneous Phosphate- Kiruna and Other

Geographic Information System (GIS)

Discussion and Summary

Afghan Phosphate Geophysics Report by Jeff Wynn



Appendix (1)

Figures (31)

Tables (6)

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