Potash: a global overview of evaporate-related potash resources, including spatial databases of deposits, occurrences, and permissive tracts

Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5090-S
Prepared in cooperation with the Saskatchewan Geological Survey, the Polish Geological Institute, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschften und Rohstoffe, and the Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia.
By: , and 



Potash is mined worldwide to provide potassium, an essential nutrient for food crops. Evaporite-hosted potash deposits are the largest source of salts that contain potassium in water-soluble form, including potassium chloride, potassium-magnesium chloride, potassium sulfate, and potassium nitrate. Thick sections of evaporitic salt that form laterally continuous strata in sedimentary evaporite basins are the most common host for stratabound and halokinetic potash-bearing salt deposits. Potash-bearing basins may host tens of millions to more than 100 billion metric tons of potassium oxide (K2O). Examples of these deposits include those in the Elk Point Basin in Canada, the Pripyat Basin in Belarus, the Solikamsk Basin in Russia, and the Zechstein Basin in Germany.

This report describes a global, evaporite-related potash deposits and occurrences database and a potash tracts database. Chapter 1 summarizes potash resource history and use. Chapter 2 describes a global potash deposits and occurrences database, which contains more than 900 site records. Chapter 3 describes a potash tracts database, which contains 84 tracts with geology permissive for the presence of evaporite-hosted potash resources, including areas with active evaporite-related potash production, areas with known mineralization that has not been quantified or exploited, and areas with potential for undiscovered potash resources. Chapter 4 describes geographic information system (GIS) data files that include (1) potash deposits and occurrences data, (2) potash tract data, (3) reference databases for potash deposit and tract data, and (4) representative graphics of geologic features related to potash tracts and deposits. Summary descriptive models for stratabound potash-bearing salt and halokinetic potash-bearing salt are included in appendixes A and B, respectively. A glossary of salt- and potash-related terms is contained in appendix C and a list of database abbreviations is given in appendix D. Appendix E describes GIS data files, and appendix F is a guide to using the geodatabase.

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Potash: a global overview of evaporate-related potash resources, including spatial databases of deposits, occurrences, and permissive tracts
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2010-5090
Chapter S
DOI 10.3133/sir20105090S
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center, Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description Report: vi, 76 p.; Readme; 3 GIS Packages
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Global mineral resource assessment
Public Comments This report is Chapter S in Global mineral resource assessment. For more information, see: Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5090.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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