Naturally acid saline systems with pH values between 1.7 and 4 are common on the Yilgarn Craton of southern Western Australia. a combination of physical and chemical processes here yield a previously undescribed type of modern sedimentary environment. Flooding, evapoconcentration, desiccation, and eolian transport at the surface, as well as influx of acid saline groundwaters, strongly influence these lakes. Halite, gypsum, kaolinite, and iron oxides precipitate from acid hypersaline lake waters. Shallow acid saline groundwaters affect the sediments of the lakes and associated mudflats, sandflats, channels, and dunes by precipitating early diagenetic halite, gypsum, iron oxides, clays, jarosite, and alunite. These modern environments would likely yield a rock record composed mostly of bedded red siliciclastic and reworked gypsum sand, alternating with less common beds of bottom-growth gypsum and halite, with alteration by early diagenetic features diagnostic of acid saline waters. This documentation of sedimentary processes and products of modern acid saline environments is an addition to the comparative sedimentology knowledge base and an expansion of the traditional models for classifying brines. Implications include better interpretations of terrestrial redbeds and lithified martian strata, improved acid remediation methods, new models for the formation and occlusion of pores, and the new setting for finding previously undescribed extremophiles.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Second Department

Biological Sciences

Keywords and Phrases

Extremophile; Gypsum; Halite; Iron Oxide; Kaolinite; Precipitation (Chemistry); Remediation; Saline Lake; Sediment Yield; Sedimentology; Australasia; Australia; Western Australia; Yilgarn Block; Extreme environments; Sedimentology

Geographic Coverage

Western Australia

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2007 Society for Sedimentary Geology, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2007