The Paradox Basin is a large (~350 km X 150 km), deep marine sedimentary basin that formed along the subsiding SW flank of the Uncompahgre uplift during Pennsylvanian time (~ 300 my ago). During the course of long-term basin subsidence there were at least 29 cycles of ingress-egress of the shallow sea that bordered the early Uncompahgre Plateau during Pennsylvanian time.
During periods when the basin was flooded with seawater various cycles of marine sedimentation occurred, including deposition of near-shore clastic and shallow carbonate shelf sedimentary rocks.
During periods of sea regress from the basin stranded seawater gradually evaporated leaving sequences of shelf carbonates, near-shore and lagoonal clastic sediments such as siltstones and black shales, and evaporite sediments such as gypsum-anhydrite and NaCl and KCl salts. The KCl salt (mineral name of “sylvite”) layers are also known by the industrial term “potash” and are the target deposits of current potash mining operations by Intrepid Potash at their Cane Creek potash solution mine and potash exploration activities of American Potash.
The thick sequence of evaporite-carbonate-clastic sedimentary deposits comprise the Paradox Formation, which is the defining sedimentary rock Formation of the Paradox Basin.
Separating each evaporite sequence in the Paradox Formation are shallow near-shore and lagoonal clastic sediment deposits or “breaks” which currently function as aquifers. Waters that occupy the Paradox Formation clastic layers are uniformly highly saline “brines”, likely formed by dissolution of salts from the salt beds during downward circulation of aquifer recharge meteoric waters.
Brines in the Paradox Basin formed either directly (i.e. remnant lenses of fossil/formational seawater) and/or indirectly (by dissolution of salts formed during evaporation of seawater) from seawater, which contains almost every naturally occurring element in the periodic table, and therefore are composed of a large variety of dissolved elements rendering them multi-commodity brines. Specifically, AMP are focusing on discovery, recovery and sale of Lithium, Potash, and Bromine from the Paradox Basin brines.