Skip to main content

Skip to navigation

The access keys for this page are:

Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

F - Chemical Sediment

BC Profile # Deposit Type Approximate Synonyms USGS Model #
F01 Sedimentary Mn - - 34b
F02 Bedded gypsum Marine evaporite gypsum 35ae
F03 Gypsum-hosted sulphur Frasch sulphur - -
F04* Bedded celestite - - 35aa*
F05* Palygorskite Attapulgite 34e*
F06 Lacustrine diatomite Diatomaceous earth, Kieselguhr 31s
F07 Sedimentary phosphate deposits (Upwelling-type phosphate) - - 34c
F08 Warm current-type phosphate - - 34d
F09* Playa and Alkaline Lake Evaporites Hydromagnesite, Na carbonate lake brines 35ba,bm(T)
F10* Lake Superior & Rapitan types iron-formation - - 34a
F11* Ironstone Minette ores 34f



by E.R. Force1, S. Paradis2 and G.J. Simandl3

1United States Geological Survey, Tucson, Arizona, USA
2Geological Survey of Canada, Sidney, B.C., Canada
3British Columbia Geological Survey, Victoria, B.C., Canada


Force, E.R., Paradis, S. and Simandl, G.J. (1999): Sedimentary Manganese; in Selected British Columbia Mineral Deposit Profiles, Volume 3, Industrial Minerals, G.J. Simandl, Z.D. Hora and D.V. Lefebure, Editors, British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines, Open File 1999-10, pages 47-50.




SYNONYMS: "Bathtub-ring manganese", "stratified basin margin manganese", shallow-marine manganese deposits around black shale basins.




EXAMPLES (British Columbia (MINFILE #): Canada/International): Molango (Mexico), Urcut (Hungary), Nikopol (Ukraine), Groote Eylandt (Australia).




CAPSULE DESCRIPTION:  Laterally extensive beds of manganite, psilomelane, pyrolusite, rhodochrosite and other manganese minerals that occur within marine sediments, such as dolomite, limestone, chalk and black shale. The manganese sediments often display a variety of textures, including oolites and sedimentary pisolites, rhythmic laminations, slumped bedding, hard-ground fragments and abundant fossils. "Primary ore" is commonly further enriched by supergene process. These deposits are the main source of manganese on the world scale.


TECTONIC SETTING:  Interior or marginal basin resting on stable craton.


DEPOSITIONAL ENVIRONMENT / GEOLOGICAL SETTING:  These deposits formed in shallow marine depositional environments (15-300 m), commonly in sheltered sites around islands along some areas of continental shelf and the interior basins. Most deposits overlie oxidized substrates, but basinward, carbonate deposits may be in reducing environments. Many are in within transgressive stratigraphic sequences near or at black shale pinchouts.


AGE OF MINERALIZATION:  Most deposits formed during lower to middle Paleozoic, Jurassic, mid-Cretaceous and Proterozoic.


HOST/ASSOCIATED ROCK TYPES:  Shallow marine sedimentary rocks, such as dolomites, limestone, chalk and black shales, in starved-basins and lithologies, such as sponge-spicule clays, are favourable hosts. Associated rock types are sandstones, quartzites, and a wide variety of fine-grained clastic rocks.


DEPOSIT FORM:  Mn-enriched zones range from few to over 50 m in thickness and extend from few to over 50 km laterally. They commonly have a "bathtub-ring" or "donut" shape. Some deposits may consist of a landward oxide facies and basinward reduced carbonate facies. Ore bodies represent discrete portions of these zones.


TEXTURE/STRUCTURE: Oolites and sedimentary pisolites, rhythmic laminations, slumped bedding, hard-ground fragments, abundant fossils, fossil replacements, and siliceous microfossils are some of commonly observed textures.


ORE MINERALOGY [Principal and subordinate]: Manganese oxides: mainly manganite, psilomelane, pyrolusite; carbonates: mainly rhodochrosite, kutnohorite, calcio-rhodochrosite.


GANGUE MINERALOGY [Principal and subordinate]:  Kaolinite, goethite, smectite, glauconite, quartz, biogenic silica; magnetite or other iron oxides, pyrite, marcasite, phosphate, ± barite, carbonaceous material, ± chlorite, ± siderite, manganocalcite.




WEATHERING:  Grades of primary ore are relatively uniform; however, supergene enrichment may result in a two or three-fold grade increase. The contacts between primary ore and supergene-enriched zones are typically sharp. Mn carbonates may weather to brown, nondescript rock. Black secondary oxides are common.


ORE CONTROLS:  Sedimentary manganese deposits formed along the margins of stratified basins where the shallow oxygenated water and deeper anoxic water interface impinged on shelf sediments. They were deposited at the intersection of an oxidation-reduction interface with platformal sediments. Sites protected from clastic sedimentation within transgressive sequences are most favourable for accumulation of high grade primary deposits.


GENETIC MODELS:  Traditionally these deposits are regarded as shallow, marine Mn sediments which form rims around paleo-islands and anoxic basins. Manganese precipitation is believed to take place in stratified water masses at the interface between anoxic seawater and near surface oxygenated waters.. The Black Sea and stratified fjords, such as Saanich Inlet or Jervis inlet, British Columbia (Emerson 1982; Grill, 1982) are believed to represent modern analogues. Extreme Fe fractionation is caused by a low solubility of iron in low Eh environments where Fe precipitates as iron sulfide. A subsequent increase in Eh and/or pH of Mn-rich water may produce Mn-rich, Fe-depleted chemical sediments. The manganese oxide facies is preserved on oxidized substrates. Carbonate facies may be preserved either in oxidized or reduced substrates in slightly deeper waters.


ASSOCIATED DEPOSIT TYPES: Black shale hosted deposits, such as upwelling-type phosphates (F07), sediment-hosted barite deposits (E17), shale-hosted silver-vanadium and similar deposits (E16) and sedimentary-hosted Cu (E04), may be located basinward from the manganese deposits. Bauxite and other laterite-type deposits (B04), may be located landward from these manganese deposits. No direct genetic link is implied between sedimentary manganese deposits and any of these associated deposits.


COMMENTS:  A slightly different model was proposed to explain the origin of Mn-bearing black shales occurring in the deepest areas of anoxic basins by Huckriede and Meischner (1996).


Calvert and Pedersen (1996) suggest an alternative hypothesis, where high accumulation rate of organic matter in sediments will promote the development of anoxic conditions below the sediment surface causing surface sediments to be enriched in Mn oxyhydroxides. When buried they will release diagenetic fluids, supersaturated with respect to Mn carbonates, that will precipitate Ca-Mn carbonates.


Sedimentary manganese deposits may be transformed into Mn-silicates during metamorphism. The metamorphic process could be schematically represented by the reaction:

Rhodochrosite + SiO2 = Rhodonite + CO2.


Mn-silicates may be valuable as ornamental stones, but they are not considered as manganese metal ores under present market conditions.




GEOCHEMICAL SIGNATURE:  Mn-enriched beds. Mn/Fe ratio is a local indicator of the basin morphology that may be reflecting separation of Mn from Fe by precipitation of pyrite. Some of the large manganese deposits, including Groote Eylandt, coincide with, or slightly postdate, d 13C positive excursions. These d 13C anomalies may therefore indicate favorable stratigraphic horizons for manganese exploration.


GEOPHYSICAL SIGNATURE:  Geophysical exploration is generally not effective. Supergene cappings may be suitable targets for the self potential method.


OTHER EXPLORATION GUIDES:  These deposits occur within shallow, marine stratigraphic sequences Black shale pinchouts or sedimentary rocks deposited near onset of marine regression are particularly favourable for exploration. High Mn concentrations are further enhanced in depositional environments characterized by weak clastic sedimentation. Manganese carbonates occur basinward from the manganese oxide ore. Many sedimentary manganese deposits formed during periods of high sea levels that are contemporaneous with adjacent anoxic basin. If Mn oxides are the main target, sequences containing shellbed-biogenic silica-glauconite are favorable. Evidence of the severe weathering of the land mass adjacent to, and contemporaneous with the favourable sedimentary setting, is also considered as a positive factor. In Precambrian terrains sequences containing both black shales and oxide-facies iron formations are the most favorable.




TYPICAL GRADE AND TONNAGE:  The average deposit contains 6.3 Mt at 30% MnO, but many deposits exceed 100 million tonnes. There is a trend in recent years to mine high-grade ores (37 to 52% Mn) to maximize the output of existing plants. The countries with large, high-grade ore reserves are South Africa, Australia, Brazil and Gabon.


ECONOMIC LIMITATIONS: On the global scale the demand for manganese ore, siliconmanganese, and ferromanganese depends largely on the steel industry. The 1996 world supply of manganese alloys was estimated at 6.6 Mt. Partly in response to highly competitive markets, in the western world much of the manganese ore mining is being integrated with alloy production. As a result, the bulk of manganese units for the steel production is now being supplied in form of alloys. There is also a new tendency to have the ore processed in China and CIS countries. The high cost of constructing new, environment-friendly plants and lower costs of energy are some of the reasons.


END USES:  Used in pig iron-making, in upgrading of ferroalloys, in dry cell batteries, animal feed, fertilizers, preparation of certain aluminum alloys, pigments and colorants. Steel and iron making accounts for 85 to 90% of demand for manganese in the United States. Increasing use of electric-arc furnaces in steel-making has resulted in gradual shift from high-carbon ferromanganese to siliconmanganese. Natural manganese dioxide is gradually being displaced by synthetic (mainly electrolitic variety). There is no satisfactory substitute for manganese in major applications.


IMPORTANCE:  Sedimentary marine deposits are the main source of manganese on the world scale. Some of these deposits were substantially upgraded by supergene enrichment (Dammer, Chivas and McDougall, 1996). Volcanogenic manganese deposits (G02) are of lesser importance. Progress is being made in the technology needed for mining of marine nodules and crusts (Chung, 1996); however, this large seabed resource is subeconomic under present market conditions.




Calvert, S.E. and Pedersen, T.F. (1996):  Sedimentary Geochemistry of Manganese - Implications for the Environment of Formation of Manganiferous Black Shales: Economic Geology, Volume 91, pages 36-47.

Cannon, W.F. and Force, E.R. (1983):  Potential for High-grade Shallow Marine Manganese Deposits in North America, in Unconventional Mineral Deposits; W.C. Shanks, Editor, Society of Mining Engineers, pages 175-189.

Chung, J.S. (1996):  Deep-ocean Mining-Technologies for Manganese Nodules and Crusts, International Journal of Offshore and Polar Engineering, Volume 6., pages 244-254.

Dammer, D., Chivas, A.R. and McDougall, I. (1996):  Isotopic Dating of Supergene Manganese Oxides from the Groote Eyland Deposit, Northern Teritory, Australia, Economic Geology, Vol.91, pages 386-401.

Emerson, S., Kalhorn, S., Jacobs, L., Tebo, B.M., Nelson, K.H. and Rosson, R.A. (1982):  Environmental Oxidation Rate of Manganese (II), Bacterial Catalysis; Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Volume 6, pages 1073-1079.

Frakes, L. and Bolton, B. (1992): Effects of Ocean Chemistry, Sea Level, and Climate on the Formation of Primary Sedimentary Manganese Ore Deposits, Economic Geology, Volume 87, pages 1207-1217.

Force, E.R. and Cannon W.R. (1988):  Depositional Model for Shallow-marine Manganese Deposits around Black-shale Basins, Economic Geology, Volume 83, pages 93-117.

Grill, E.V. (1982):  The Effect of Sediment-water Exchange on Manganese Deposition and Nodule Growth in Jervis Inlet, British Columbia, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Volume 42, pages 485-495.

Huckriede, H. and Meischner, D. (1996):  Origin and Environment of Manganese-rich Sediments within Black-shale Basins, Geochemica and Cosmochemica Acta, Volume 60, pages 1399-1413.

Jones, T.S., Inestroza, J. and Willis, H. (1997): Manganese, Annual Review-1996, U.S. Geological Survey, 19 pages.

Laznicka, P. (1992):  Manganese Deposits in the Global Lithogenetic System: Quantitative Approach, Ore Geology Reviews, Volume 7, pages 279-356.

Morvai, G. (1982):  Hungary; in Mineral Deposits of Europe, Volume .2, Southeastern Europe, F.W. Dunning, W. Mykura and D. Slater, Editors, Mineral Society, Institute of Mining & Metallurgy, London, pages 13-53.

Okita, P.M. (1992): Stratiform Manganese Carbonate Mineralization in the Molango District, Mexico, Economic Geology, Volume 87, pages 1345-1365.

Polgari, M., Okita, P.M. and Hein, J.M. (1991): Stable Isotope Evidence for the Origin of the Urcut Manganese Ore Deposit, Hungary. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, Volume 61, Number 3, pages 384-393.

Polgari, M., Molak, B. and Surova, E. (1992):  An Organic Geochemical Study to Compare Jurassic Black Shale-hosted Manganese Carbonate Deposits, Urkut, Hungary and Branisko Mountains, East Slovakia; Exploration and Mining Geology, Volume 1, Number 1, pages 63-67.

Pracejus, B. and Bolton, B.R. (1992):  Geochemistry of Supergene Manganese Oxide Deposits, Groote Eylandt, Australia; Economic Geology, Volume 87, pages 1310-1335.

Pratt, L.M., Force, E.R. and Pomerol, B. (1991):  Coupled Manganese and Carbon-isotopic Events in Marine Carbonates at the Cenomanian-Turonian Boundary, Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, Volume 61, Number 3, pages 370-383.

Robinson, I. (1997):  Manganese; in: Metals and Minerals Annual Review, Mining Journal London, page 59.



by Z.D. Hora1

Retired, British Columbia Geological Survey, Victoria, B.C., Canada



SYNONYM(S): Evaporite gypsum




EXAMPLES (British Columbia – Canada/International): Windermere Creek (082JSW021, 028), Coyote Creek (082JSW009, 017, 022) (082GNW071), Forget-Me-Not Creek (083E 001), Harcus (Manitoba), Hagersville (Ontario), Hillsborough (New Brunswick), Little Narrows, Windsor (Nova Scotia), Oakfield, New York (USA), Sandusky Bay, Ohio (USA), Shoals, Indiana (USA), Saltville, Virginia (USA), Medicine Lodge, Kansas (USA), Clark County, Nevada (USA), Plaster City, California (USA), Germany, France, Spain.




CAPSULE DESCRIPTION: Massive beds of laminated gypsum in low-energy sedimentary sequences. Gypsum may replace anhydrite, which forms the deeper parts of the deposits. Gypsum beds are typically tabular to lensoidal in shape and range from a few metres to several hundreds of metres thick. Gypsum is part of an evaporate sequence that may include thick beds of rock salt and potash.


TECTONIC SETTING: Recent and Ancient continental shelf and slowly subsiding marginal marine basins. Passive margin setting.


DEPOSITIONAL ENVIRONMENT / GEOLOGICAL SETTING: Coastal hypersaline basins, peritidal environment, shallow inner shelf hypersaline lagoons in high evaporation/low precipitation climates. Coastal and continental sabkha environment. Sedimentation often in repetitive cycles.


AGE OF MINERALIZATION: Paleozoic to Tertiary (in some tropical areas similar Recent accumulations are known to exist).


HOST/ASSOCIATED ROCK TYPES: Redbed sandstone, siltstone, claystone, dolomite. Sometimes sandstone and fine-grained siliciclastics/carbonate reefs, platform carbonates, sometimes halite, celestite, magnesium and potash chlorides and sulphates. In deeply buried deposits, original gypsum becomes dehydrated into anhydrite, which when uplifted and exposed by erosion may rehydrate back into gypsum.


DEPOSIT FORM: Gypsum deposits are strata bound, tabular to lens shaped and are typically comprised of many bands of highly deformed gypsum resulting from high plasticity of the calcium sulphate under the pressure. Individual beds may persist over tens of kilometres in length within the depositional basin. In a platform environment, gypsum forms flat or low-angle dipping massive beds, in orogenic belts like Canadian Cordillera, for example, highly deformed, discontinuous, lenticular bodies. In BC’s Stanford Range, the stratigraphic thickness is from 100 metres at Windermere to 50–60 metres further south at Coyote Creek.


TEXTURE/STRUCTURE: Mostly granoblastic texture of anhedral to subhedral crystals, sometimes grading into mosaics of ill-defined anhedral crystals. Thinly laminated, fine-grained masses, with local veining and aggregates of secondary selenite crystals. In highly deformed deposits with plastic flow features with intimate folding, original laminations can be stretched and pulled apart, with secondary veining of fine-grained and crystalline gypsum. Laminations are generally from a fraction of a millimeter to 4 millimetres thick, and are frequently crenulated. If interbedded with more competent  rocks, like dolomite in thin layers, they may exhibit boudinage features. Large scale, concentric, open and chevron folds are common. 


ORE MINERALOGY [Principal and subordinate]: Gypsum is the principal mineral, in some deposits where there is a demand, anhydrite may be a co-product.


GANGUE MINERALOGY [Principal and subordinate]: Clay, shale, dolomite; anhydrite in some deposits, soluble salts – chloride, carbonate and sulphate of sodium and potassium.


ALTERATION MINERALOGY:  Secondary gypsum in veins and crystal aggregates, native sulphur.


WEATHERING: In many deposits, particularly in old orogenic belts, gypsum is the weathering product of anhydrite beds exposed by erosion on the surface. Gypsum deposits may be subject to karst type of weathering, including sinkholes and other types of underground cavities. The hydrated zone for BC deposits near Invermere is 30 to 40 metres deep in the Windermere area and 20 and 25 metres in the Coyote Creek area. 


ORE CONTROLS: Depth of weathering (rehydration) in anhydrite deposits. Facies change into clastic, chloride or carbonate sedimentation in the original basin. Contamination by clay and carbonate gangue, presence of soluble salts.


GENETIC MODELS: Chemical precipitation of calcium sulphate from saturated brines. Gypsum will begin to precipitate when normal sea water salinity is concentrated to approximately 3.35 times the original salinity. Such concentration will take place when the evaporation exceeds the influx of normal seawater or fresh water into the basin. There are three depositional models currently accepted for evaporite gypsum formation – deep water/deep basin, shallow water/deep basin, and shallow water/shallow basin. Deep water evaporates are believed to result from crystals generated at the air-water interface gradually settling to the bottom. The depth of water in these deposits may be as much as 40 metres. Shallow water evaporates form in water about 5 metres in depth or less as coastal sabkha deposits. Deep basin/shallow water environment is associated with deposits of halite and magnesium/potash salts. With burial diagenesis, gypsum is converted into anhydrite. Later uplift, removal of covering rocks and presence of meteoric waters reverses the reaction and anhydrite is converted back to gypsum.


ASSOCIATED DEPOSIT TYPES: Rock salt and potash deposits, celestite, frasch sulphur.


COMMENTS: The classical deep basin/shallow water accumulations of anhydrite/gypsum with rock salt with or without potash might be expected to have sabkha deposits along the margin of the basin.




GEOCHEMICAL SIGNATURE: Heavy concentrations of sulphate in groundwater.


GEOPHYSICAL SIGNATURE: In heavy overburden areas, karst features and outline of gypsum and shale host rock may be identified with resistivity methods.


OTHER EXPLORATION GUIDES: Karst features, such as sinkholes.




TYPICAL GRADE AND TONNAGE: The low price of gypsum generally does not permit any beneficiation. Mine production ranges between 85 to 95% pure gypsum. Only traces of soluble salts and up to 2% of hydrous clays may be tolerated. The median tonnage depends on the size of local markets and abundance of other gypsum deposits in the region, but mostly is in the tens of millions of tonnes range. In regions with limited surface resources, some deposits are mined underground.


ECONOMIC LIMITATIONS: Transportation cost is the main limiting factor for many gypsum deposits. Synthetic gypsum produced by desulphurization of flue gases in smelters, coal burning power stations and similar operations is replacing natural gypsum in some industrial applications.


END USES: Cement retarder, wallboard, plaster; low-grade gypsum has been used as soil conditioner in agriculture.


IMPORTANCE: In the year 2000, Canada produced 8.5 million tonnes of gypsum and anhydrite, the USA produced 19.5 million tonnes of gypsum. Canada had 11 production centres, and the USA has 56 active mines. Approximately 75 % of gypsum in the USA and Canada is used to manufacture wallboard and related construction products, and the remaining 25 % is used in cement industry.




Bannatyne, B. (1984): Gypsum in Manitoba; in Guillet, G.R. and Martin, W., Editors, The Geology of Industrial Minerals in Canada, The Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Special Volume 29, pages 163–166.

Bates, R.L. (1969): Geology of Industrial Rocks and Minerals; Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 459 pages.

Butrenchuk, S.B. (1991): Gypsum in British Columbia, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Open File 1991-15, 48 pages.

Cameron, J.R. (1984): Gypsum in Atlantic Canada; in Guillet, G.R. and Martin, W., Editors, The Geology of Industrial Minerals in Canada, The Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Special Volume 29, pages 25–27.

Cole, L.H. (1913): Gypsum in Canada, Canada Department of Mines, No. 245, 255 pages.

Cole, L.H. (1930): The Gypsum Industry of Canada, Canada Department of Mines, 164 pages.

Cole, L.H. and Rogers, R.A. (1933): Anhydrite in Canada, Canada Department of Mines, No. 732, 89 pages.

Harben, P.W. and Kuzvart, M.(1996): Industrial Minerals. A Global Geology, Metal Bulletin PLC London, UK, 462 pages.

Harris, P. (2001): Wallboard Wonderland – The North American Gypsum Market, Industrial Minerals, No. 400, January, pages 28–37.

Jorgensen, D.B. (1994): Gypsum and Anhydrite; in Carr, D.D., Senior Editor, Industrial Minerals and Rocks, Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, Littleton, Colorado, pages 571–581.

Kebel, H.L. (1994): Gypsum Plasters and Wallboards; in Carr, D.D., Senior Editor, Industrial Minerals and Rocks, Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, Littleton, Colorado, pages 325–336.

Kendal, A.C. (1984): Gypsum; in Walker, R.G., Editor, Evaporites, Geoscience Canada, Reprint Series 1, pages 159–174.

Meijer Drees, N.O. (1986): Evaporitic Deposits of Western Canada. Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 85-20, 118 pages.

Mossop, G.D. and Shearman, D.J. (1973): Origins of Secondary Gypsum Rocks, Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, Transactions, Volume B82, pages 147–154.

Mossop, G. and Shetsen, I. (1994): Geological Atlas of the Western Canada sedimentary Basin, Alberta Research Council, 510 pages.

Murray, R.C. (1964): Origin and Diagenesis of Gypsum and Anhydrite, Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, Volume 34, No. 3, pages 512–523.

Olson, D.W. (2001): Gypsum; in Mineral Industry Surveys, US Geological Survey, pages 35.1–35.7.

Vagt, O. (2002): Gypsum and Anhydrite; in Canadian Mineral Yearbook 2000, Minerals and Metals Sector, Natural Resources Canada, pages 25.1-25.6.

[Back to top]



by Z.D. Hora1

Retired, British Columbia Geological Survey, Victoria, B.C., Canada

SYNONYM(S):  Frasch sulphur (Frasch is process of pumping hot water underground to melt the sulphur and pump it up to the surface for recovery). 



EXAMPLES (British Columbia – Canada/International): Trutch (094G 023, 024), Prophet River (094I 002, 003), Windemere Creek (082JSW021, 028), Branch F (082GNW071); Coronation prospect (Alberta); Kennetcook, Hilden, Pictou Harbor (Nova Scotia); Main Pass, Lake Washington, Jefferson Island (Louisiana); Wharton Co., Culberson Co., Hoskins Mound, Boling, (Texas); Texistepec, Jaltipan (Mexico); Tarnobrzeg (Poland).





CAPSULE DESCRIPTION: Elemental sulphur occurring in economic quantities as replacements along beds, as the matrix and clasts in breccias and disseminated through porous carbonate rocks or sandstones. The sulphur is often associated with anhydrite or gypsum interbedded with dolomites or limestones and below impermeable mudstones or shales. The elemental sulphur is found in zones that are metres to tens of metres thick, often quite extensive laterally and frequently occurs with hydrogene sulphide.


TECTONIC SETTING: Ancient continental shelf and slowly subsiding marginal marine basins. Passive margin setting.


DEPOSITIONAL ENVIRONMENT / GEOLOGICAL SETTING:  The host sedimentary rocks were deposited in a restricted basin along with evaporitic beds of anhydrite, barite and sometimes celestite. In some cases the evaporitic rocks formed diapiric salt domes. Presence of hydrocarbons in surrounding rocks, together with sulphate reducing bacteria and migrating meteoric water.


AGE OF MINERALIZATION:  Most deposits are considered to be Tertiary or younger, but they are hosted mostly in Devonian, Mississippian, Triassic and Miocene rocks.


HOST/ASSOCIATED ROCK TYPES: Anhydrite or gypsum with porous dolomite/limestone, sandstone and siltstone beds / mudstones, siltstones, bioepigenetic calcite, locally barite and celestite.


DEPOSIT FORM: Strata controlled replacement mineralized bodies, collapsed cave fill heterolithic breccias, porous carbonate reef structures, replacement orebodies in roofs of diapiric salt domes.


TEXTURE/STRUCTURE: In sedimentary deposits the ore textures frequently mimic sedimentary textures of original gypsum or anhydrite. In collapsed cave fill deposits sulphur occurs as microcrystalline disseminations in biogenic calcite, crystals lining limestone cavities and crystalline masses, crusts and clasts in collapse breccia. In diapiric structures, sulfur is usually massive in the lower part of the so called “caprock”. 


ORE MINERALOGY [Principal and subordinate]:  Elementary sulphur, secondary calcite, hydrocarbons and hydrogene sulphide / barite, celestite, galena, sphalerite, marcasite, pyrite.


GANGUE MINERALOGY [Principal and subordinate]:  Anhydrite, gypsum, limestone / siltstone, sandstone.


ALTERATION MINERALOGY:  Secondary, white calcite. Celestite and barite are probably also products of the calcium sulphate reduction process.


WEATHERING:  While native sulphur is resistant to chemical weathering and can be found in outcrop, it is brittle and easy to disintegrate mechanically.


ORE CONTROLS:  Critical to the generation of a significant sulphur deposit is the confinement of the hydrogene sulphide to a restricted area where elemental sulphur may be deposited and preserved. Overlying impermeable strata of clays or shales may trap the hydrogene sulphide and prevent subsequent oxidation. Structural controls are often important for the migration of hydrocarbons and groundwater, for the development of collapse breccias, and as well for development of diapiric salt domes.


GENETIC MODELS: The origin of sulphur deposits is widely accepted to be associated with the actions of sulphate reducing bacteria in the presence of gypsum or anhydrite and hydrocarbons. At relatively shallow depths (generally less than 750 metres, but locally deeper) and at temperatures below about 60 degrees Celsius, the bacteria can thrive in the subsurface given an adequate energy source. The host anhydrite must be exposed to migrating meteoric waters to be hydrated to gypsum. Into this system, petroleum or natural gas is introduced from depth, along faults, joints or permeable strata. Bacteria are introduced by meteoric water which oxidize the hydrocarbons and reduce the sulphate to hydrogene sulphide. The latter is then oxidized by molecular oxygen derived usually from meteoric water or ferric iron to produce elemental sulphur and calcium carbonate. Under some circumstances, hydrogene sulphide may oxidize into native sulphur without the presence of meteoric water. In high temperature/ high pressure environments, hydrogene sulphide may also form as a product of thermal maturation of crude oil and thermochemical sulphate reduction. A variety of sulphur forms are dissolved in the sour gas phase and precipitate with lowering the pressure and/or temperature, which can happen by natural processes during uplift and erosion, or during natural gas production. Some deposits may be the result of combination of the two processes.


ASSOCIATED DEPOSIT TYPES:  Gypsum (F02), halite, potash salts, oil and natural gas, hydrogene sulphide pools, possibly celestite (F04).


COMMENTS:  At present, natural gas processing plants provide considerable amounts of North America’s sulphur from sour gas.




GEOCHEMICAL SIGNATURE:  Presence of H2S in oil and natural gas. Light carbon isotope survey anomalies may detect biogenic calcium carbonate. Detrital native sulphur in soil.


GEOPHYSICAL SIGNATURE:  Gravity methods can outline diapiric structures, porous limestone host rocks and collapse features.


OTHER EXPLORATION GUIDES:  For subsurface deposits favourable lithologies with evaporite sequence. Biogenic calcite may form weathered out small buttes in otherwise flat topography.




TYPICAL GRADE AND TONNAGE:  Production of Frash sulphur from individual North American  deposits has varied from less than one hundred thousand to more than 80 million tonnes. Boiling Dome, Texas produced over 90 million tonnes of sulphur between 1928-1994, Main Pass dome in Louisiana was reported to have 67 million long tons reserves in 1989, the Culberson orebody in Texas reported pre-production reserves of 81.5 long tons of sulphur.  In Poland, sulphur-bearing rocks are from few metres to over 40 metres thick, sulphur content is quite variable from few % to over 50 %, the average varies from 22 to 33%. Rocks containing less than 5% of sulphur are considered barren. Total measured reserves in 1992 in Poland were reported at about 600 million tonnes and another 500 million tonnes inferred, in two separate mining districts.


ECONOMIC LIMITATIONS:  For the Frasch method, the maximum depth of the orebody is up to approximately 1000 metres below surface. Since the year 2000, all sulphur in Canada and USA comes from involuntary production to remove it from natural gas and other hydrocarbons, and a variety of base metal smelting operations.


END USES:  Sulphuric acid for industrial applications, one of the main uses is for production of phosphate fertilizers.


IMPORTANCE:  Sulphur mining from outcrops of this deposit type is known to have taken place as early as 2000 BC in Egypt; archeological work indicates its use by man thousands of years earlier. A major world source of sulphur from the discovery and development of Frasch mining in 1895 until the last U.S. operation was closed in August 2000.




Bates, R.L. (1969): Geology of Industrial Rocks and Minerals, Dover Publications Inc., New York, 459 pages.

Harben, P.W. and Kuzvart, M. (1996): Industrial Minerals. A Global Geology, Metal Bulletin PLC, London, UK, 462 pages.

Holister, V.F. (1984): Sulphur Deposits of Nova Scotia, in Guillet, G.R. and Martin, W., Editors, The Geology of Industrial Minerals in Canada, The Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Special Volume 29, pages 31-34.

Holister, V.F. (1984): Sulphur potential of the Wabamun Group, Alberta, in Guillet, G.R. and Martin, W., Editors, The Geology of Industrial Minerals in Canada, The Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Special Volume 29, pages 238-243.

Kyle, J.R., Editor,(1990): Industrial Resources of the Delaware Basin, Texas and New Mexico, Guidebook Series Volume 8, Society of Economic Geologists, 203 pages.

Lundy, W.T. (1949): Sulphur and Pyrites; in  Dolbear, S.H., Senior Editor, Industrial Minerals and Rocks, The American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, New York, pages 989-1017.

Machel, H.G. (2001): Bacterial and Thermochemical Sulfate Reduction in Diagenetic Setting – Old and New Insights, Sedimentary Geology, Volume 140, pages 143-175.

Machel, H.G. (1987): Saddle Dolomite as a By-product of Chemical Compaction and Thermochemical Sulfate Reduction, Geology, Volume 15, pages 936-940.

Meijer Drees, N.O. (1986): Evaporitic Deposits of Western Canada, Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 85-20, 118 pages.

Morel-a-l`-Huissier, P. (2002): Sulphur; in Canadian Minerals Yearbook 2000, Natural Resources Canada, pages 53.1-53.7.

Ober, J.A. (2000): Gypsum, in Minerals Yearbook, U.S. Geological Survey, pages 76.1-76.27.

Orris, G.J. and Bliss, J.D. (1991): Some Industrial Mineral Deposit Models: Descriptive Deposit Models, U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 91-11A, 73 pages.

Rogers, M.C., Thurston, P.C., Fyon, J.A., Kelly, R.I., and Breaks, F.W. (1995): Descriptive Mineral Deposit Models of Metallic and Industrial Deposits Types and Related Mineral Potential Assessment Criteria; Ontario  

Geological Survey, Open File Report 5916, 241 pages.

Thompson, B.J. (1989): Native Sulphur Occurrences in Devonian Evaporites, Northeastern British Columbia, in Geological Fieldwork 1988, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1989-1, pages 529-531.

Wenzel, W.J.M. (1986): Other Sources of Sulphur and Their Economics, in Proceedings, Symposium Canadian Sulphur and the World Market, Calgary, Alberta, pages 5.01-5.21.

Wessel, G.R. (1994): Sulphur Resources; in Carr, D.D., Senior Editor, Industrial Minerals and Rocks, Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Inc., Littleton, Colorado, pages 1011-1048.

Wessel, G.R. and Wimberly, B.H., Editors (1992): Native Sulfur. Developments in Geology and Exploration, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc., Littleton, Colorado, 193 pages. 

[Back to top]



by G.J. Simandl1,2, S. Paradis2,3 and R. Fajber 1

 British Columbia Geological Survey, Victoria, B.C., Canada
2 School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada
3 Geological Survey of Canada, Sidney, B.C., Canada
Paradis, S. and Simandl, G.J. (2012): Sedimentary phosphate deposits Mineral Deposit Profile F07; in Geological Fieldwork 2011, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, paper 2012-1, pages 217-222.

SYNONYM(S):  Upwelling phosphate deposits, phosphorite or stratiform phospate deposits. 

COMMODITIES (BYPRODUCTS): Phosphate +/- F, +/- rare earth elements (REE including Y) +/- V, +/-U, +/- gypsum (phosphogypsum).


EXAMPLES (British Columbia – Canada/International): Crow (082GNE025), Cabin Creek (CS) (082GSE055), Bighorn (082GSE060), Ram 1 (082GSE056); Wapiti (093I 008) and Wapiti East (093I 022); Athabaska Basin (Saskatchewan, Canada), Bone Valley and Hawthorn Formations (Florida, U.S.A.), Phosphoria Formation (Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, U.S.A.); Ganntour deposit (Morocco).





CAPSULE DESCRIPTION: Sedimentary phosphate deposits are stratiform or lens-shaped, measuring less than 1 metre to tens of metres in thickness.  They extend for tens to hundreds of kilometres in their longest dimension.  Mineralized zones consist of phosphorites (≥18% P2O5) or phosphate rocks (<18% P2O5).  These rocks are bedded.  They may be primary or reworked (secondary).  The main ore mineral is microcrystalline francolite, commonly in form of laminae, pellets, oolites, nodules and fragments of bones or shells.  This mineral may also be present within the rock matrix.


TECTONIC SETTING: The most favourable tectonic settings for larger deposits are passive continental shelves and adjacent sag basins; some sedimentary phosphate deposits formed at active continental margins, intracontinental basins and even lacustrine environments.


DEPOSITIONAL ENVIRONMENT / GEOLOGICAL SETTING:  Deposition usually occurred in areas of warm paleoclimate, mostly between the 40th parallels.  The most common depositional environment for sedimentary phosphate deposits is a marine sedimentary basin with a good connection to the open sea (commonly west-facing at the time of phosphate deposition), and upwelling areas with high plankton productivity.  


AGE OF MINERALIZATION:  Deposits range in age from Proterozoic to Holocene.  Phosphate deposits are particularly abundant in Cambrian, Permian, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Eocene and Miocene times (Cook and McElhinny, 1979).  In terms of inferred resources (tonnage), the Eocene, Miocene and Permian are the most important time intervals.  In British Columbia, the majority of phosphate occurrences are located in rocks of Jurassic and Triassic age.  


HOST/ASSOCIATED ROCK TYPES: Hostrocks are phosphorites (≥18% P2O5) and phosphate rocks (<18% P2O5).  Associated rock types are typically sedimentary rocks including marl, black shale, chert, limestone, dolostone, and in some cases lava flows, tuffs and diatomite-bearing rocks.  Figure 2 shows conceptual vertical section of the platform perpendicular to the shoreline. 


DEPOSIT FORM: Phosphate-bearing rocks are generally stratiform; bed thicknesses range from less and 1 metre to tens of metres and may extend for distances up to several hundreds of kilometres in their longest dimension.  The thickest deposits are amalgamated/condensed beds (tabular units) reflecting variations in upwelling intensity and storm frequency through time.  Individual phosphorite deposits delimited by drilling may measure from a few hundreds of metres to tens of kilometres in their longest dimension.  Phosphorite deposits commonly occur in belts.


TEXTURE/STRUCTURE: Phosphorite deposits commonly contain phosphate pellets and nodules as well as phosphatized shells and bones; ooids, intraformational rip-up breccias, clasts, concretions, phosphatic stromatolite mounds (or their fragments), crossbeds, hardgrounds and burrows.  Phosphatic minerals may also form the matrix.  Gangue mineralogy and textures in phosphorite are determined partially by the depositional environment that prevailed during reworking and winnowing (natural P2O5 upgrading) of the original phosphate rocks and during diagenesis) may be paler buff, tan and/or macroscopically featureless.


"Pristine" phosphate accumulations (one cycle of phosphogenesis) are characterized by phosphatised laminae and lenses, coated grains, coprolites, peloids and fossils.  Allochthonous phosphate accumulations show sharp and erosive lower boundary, assemblages of phosphatic and non-phosphatic particles and internal grading, accreted grains, minor unconformities, scour marks and bed truncations, and heterogeneous phosphate particles.  Condensed phosphates represent an intermediate stage between pristine and allochthonous phosphate deposits (Fõllmi, 1996).  


ORE MINERALOGY [Principal and subordinate]:  Francolite (carbonate-rich fluorapatite), secondary minerals derived by the weathering of francolite: millisite, Fe-pallite, crandalite, wavellite and other Al-phosphates.  Secondary minerals are not desirable from the metallurgical point of view.


GANGUE MINERALOGY [Principal and subordinate]:  Dolomite, calcite, quartz, montmorillonite or illite +/- chert, +/- halite, +/- gypsum, +/- iron oxides, +/- siderite, +/- pyrite, +/- crnotite*, +/- glauconite, +/- sphalerite, +/- zeolites.


*Carnotite is a potassium uranium vanadate radioactive mineral with chemical formula: K2(UO2)2(VO4)2•3H2O.

 It is commonly considered as a gangue mineral; however, if present in high concentrations it becomes an ore mineral.


ALTERATION MINERALOGY:  Dahllite is believed to form during late diagenesis (Trappe, 1998).

WEATHERING:  Lateritic alteration of francolite results in the formation of millisite, Fe-pallite, crandalite, wavellite and other aluminum-phosphates.  Turquoise may form if copper is present.  Weathering decreases concentrations of pyrite and sphalerite and may result in the release of selenium.


ORE CONTROLS:  Phosphorites are stratigraphically and spatially linked to paleodepositional environments favourable for phosphogenesis (high bio-productivity) and phosphorus flux, stratification within water/unconsolidated sediment column, and a moderate to low supply of allogenic sediment.  Phosphorite deposits are spatially related to multiple cycles of regression-transgression.  Phosphate facies commonly rest on, or are associated with, erosional surfaces (unconformities) and/or start with phosphatic lag concentrates.  Entrapment basins (zones) characterized by a low influx of continent-derived sediments are required for the deposition of phosphorites.


GENETIC MODEL: Seawater averages 0.071 ppm phosphorous (Redfield, 1958) and may contain as much as 0.372 ppm phosphorus (Gulbradsen and Robertson, 1973).  Warm surface waters typically contain less than 0.0033 ppm phosphorus (McKelvey, 1973).  Phosphate rocks and primary phosphorites form in or laterally adjacent to organic-rich sediments beneath regions where upwelling, nutrient-rich, cold waters interact with a warm sunlit surface seawater layer, creating favourable conditions for intense algal bloom.  Algae die, or are eaten by other life forms, then accumulate on the seafloor as fecal pellets and/or organic debris beneath sites of active coastal upwelling.  Decomposition of organic debris in an oxygen-deprived environment by bacteria and dissolution of fish bones and scales are linked to precipitation of phosphate minerals (phosphogenesis) near the sediment-water interface.  Precipitation of apatite within intergranular spaces during diagenesis and through non-biological chemical processes may also contribute to formation of phosphate rocks.


Most phosphorites were enriched by the reworking, winnowing (concentration) and accumulation of the above described phosphorus-bearing sediments.


ASSOCIATED DEPOSIT TYPES:  Sedimentary manganese deposits (F01), evaporites (gypsum-anhydrite, F02), SEDEX deposits (E14), coal deposits (A03 and A04), hydrocarbon reservoirs, Mississippi Valley-type Pb-Zn deposits (E12), sparry magnesite deposits (E09) and red bed Cu deposits (E04) are spatially associated with the phosphate deposits. 


COMMENTS:  The high trace element content of some phosphorites may limit their suitability for agricultural applications.  Repetitive fertilizing of agricultural fields over several decades may result in unacceptable concentrations of potentially harmful elements in soils.  For example, elevated concentrations of uranium, thorium, lead, cadmium, selenium and chromium in fertilizer are not desirable.  


Phosphorite deposits can supply several by-products, such as fluorine (Simandl, 2009).  Uranium and vanadium were extracted from phosphate deposits in United States.  Phosphate deposits also have the potential to produce yttrium (Pell, 1991) and other rare earth elements as byproducts (Simandl et al., 2011a, b).  Synthetic gypsum (phosphogypsum) can also be a byproduct of phosphoric acid production; however, its use is typically limited because it incorporates unwanted trace elements.




GEOCHEMICAL SIGNATURE:  Phosphorous and in some cases rare earth elements, fluorine, and uranium can be used as pathfinders.  Since phosphogenesis is commonly associated with organic-rich sediments, nitrogen and carbon may be considered as part of the signature; however, in practice these elements are not part of standard analytical packages used in exploration.  Rapid ammonium molybdate - nitric acid field method can be used for field identification of phosphate (Swanson, 1981); however, this method is generally considered as over sensitive.  A portable, hand-held XRF is an effective tool in determining the concentrations of phosphorus, light rare earth elements, yttrium, and a number of other trace elements commonly contained in phosphate rocks (Fajber and Simandl, 2012).


GEOPHYSICAL SIGNATURE:  Radiometric surveys could be an effective exploration tool if the deposit contains above background concentrations of radioactive elements.


OTHER EXPLORATION GUIDES:  Phosphate deposits are expected to occur mostly in favourable paleolatitudes (between the 40th parallels).  Remote sensing (spectral analysis) is also showing some promise.  Conceptual vertical section showing spatial distribution of the associated deposit types may be used as a guide in early stages of exploration.


Phosphatic and glauconitic facies are commonly spatially related (Odin and Letolle, 1980).  In those settings, glauconite, characterized by its green colour (easily recognizable by prospector), may be used as an indirect guide to mineralization.




TYPICAL GRADE AND TONNAGE:  According to the United States Geological Survey grade and tonnage model, 90% of the sedimentary phosphate deposits contain more than 26 million tonnes, 50% of them contain 330 million tonnes or more, and less than 10% of these deposits contain more than 4200 million tonnes (Mosier, 1992).  According to the same model, 90% of these deposits grade more than 15% P2O5, 50% of them grade more than 25% P2O5 and less than 10% grade more than 32% P2O5 (Mosier, 1992).


Historically only deposits with grades exceeding 25% P2O5 were considered of economic interest.  As these deposits are being depleted, lower ore grades are becoming acceptable and upgrading has become common practice.  For example, in Idaho companies use high-grade ore (or acid grade >31%P2O5) directly in fertilizer plants, while medium grade (or furnace grade) rock (24 to 31% P2O5) can be used as feed for elemental phosphorus plants.  Lower grade rocks (15 to 24% P2O5) are also mined but they have to beneficiated to meet the above requirements.


Under favourable conditions (i.e. near existing flotation plants, as in Florida), even phosphate rocks grading as low as 3% P2O5 may be of economic interest (Zhang et al., 2006).  Furthermore, a small portion of mined phosphate rock is simply ground and sold to growers of organic products as "natural rock phosphate".  Such products work reasonably well in acidic soils; however, most of the phosphorus contained in these products is not readily available for plant use in neutral or alkaline soils (pH>/-7).


ECONOMIC LIMITATIONS:  Most of the deposits are being mined using open-pit methods or drag lines; however, under exceptional circumstances, high-grade deposits may be mined by underground methods. 


Phosphatic rocks may be enriched in REE, V, U, F, Ag, Cd, Cr, Mo, As, Se, Sr, Te, Zn and other elements.  Elements such as U, Th and their decay products, Cd, Tl, Se and Hg are closely monitored.  If found in excessive concentrations these elements are recovered to mitigate environmental risks linked to fertilizer use or phosphate tailings disposal (Laznicka, 1985; Northolt, 1994; Trappe, 1998).


High concentrations of certain elements other than P can cause problems during processing.  High CaO/P2O5 ratios result in an increase in sulfuric acid consumption during phosphoric acid production; high concentrations of Mg and SiO2 cause filtration problems; high concentrations of Na and K results in scaling; organic matter causes foaming during production of phosphoric acid; high Cl concentrations cause premature corrosion.  High levels of relatively toxic elements (e.g. Cd, Se and As) may make a phosphorite unsuitable for fertilizer production.


IMPORTANCE:  World phosphate production for 2011 is estimated at 176 million tonnes.  Sedimentary phosphate deposits account for 80% of the world phosphate production.  Morocco and the Western Sahara (administered by Morocco) accounted for 50 million tonnes.  Other North African countries, China, U.S.A. and Russia are also major producers (Jasinski, 2011).  Other sources of phosphorus include apatite concentrate produced from some carbonatite deposits (N01) and peralkaline intrusions (Brazil, Canada, Russia and South Africa), guano deposits (small and only of local importance) and also apatite produced as a by-product of iron extraction from some of iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) deposits (D07).


Phosphorus is an essential element for plant and animal life.  There are no substitutes for phosphorus in agricultural applications.  Elemental phosphorus is used in production of variety of intermediate products that are consumed in the manufacturing of detergents, matches, fireworks, pesticides, toothpastes and explosives.  Phosphorus compounds may also be used as gasoline additives, in some plastics, fire retardants, etc.


The recovery of phosphate from waste waters is technically possible; however, the economics of the process remain challenging at current prices of phosphate fertilizers (Parson and Smith, 2008).




Butrenchuk, S. (1996): Phosphate deposits in British Columbia; BC Ministry of Employment and Investment. British Columbia Geological Survey, Bulletin 98, 126 pages.

Cook, P.J. and McElhinny, M.W. (1979): A re-evaluation of the spatial and temporal distribution of sedimentary phosphate deposits in the light of plate tectonics; Economic Geology, Volume 74, pages 315-330.

Fajber, R. and Simandl, G.J. (2012): Portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) instrument use in evaluation of rare earth element containing sedimentary phosphate deposits; BC Ministry of Energy and Mines; Geological Fieldwork 2011.

Follmi, K.B. (1996): The Phosphorus cycle, phosphogenesis and marine phosphate-rich deposits; Earth Sciences Reviews, Volume 40, pages 55-124.

Gulbrandsen, R.A. and Roberson, C.E. (1973): Inorganic phosphorus in seawater; in Griffith, E.J., Beeton, A., Spencer, J.M. and Mitchell, D.T. (Eds.), Environmental Phosphorus Handbook; John Wiley & Sons, New York, pages 117-140.

Hein, J.R., Perkins, R.B. and McIntyre, B.R. (2004): Evolution of thought concerning the origin of the Phosphoria Formation, Western US phosphate field; in Life cycle of the Phosphoria Formation; Hein, J.R., Editor, Elsevier, Amsterdam.  Handbook of Exploration and Environmental Geochemistry, pages 19-42.

Jasinski, S.M. (2004): Societal relevance, processing, and material flow of western phosphate - refreshments, fertilizer, and weed killer; in Life cycle of the Phosphoria Formation; Hein, J.R., Editor, Elsevier, Amsterdam, Handbook of Exploration and Environmental Geochemistry, Volume 8, pages 599-610.

Jasinski, S.M. (2011): Phosphate rock; Commodity summaries; US Geological Survey, pages 118-119.

Laznicka, P. (1985):  Empirical metallogeny; depositional environments, Lithologic Associations and Deposits; Volume 1, Phanerozoic Environments, Associations and Deposits; Elsevier, Amsterdam, pages 482-488.

McKelvey, V.E. (1973):  Abundance and distribution of phosphorus in the lithosphere; in Griffith, E.J., Beeton, A., Spencer, J.M. and Mitchell, D.T. (Eds.), Environmental Phosphorus Handbook; John Wiley & Sons, New York, pages 13-31.

Mosier, D.L. (1992): Descriptive model of upwelling type phosphate deposits; Mineral Deposit Models; in Cox, D.P. and Singer, D.A., Mineral Deposit Models, US Geological Survey, Bulletin 1693, pages 234-236.

Moyle, P.R. and Piper, D.Z. (2004): Western phosphate filed - depositional and economic deposit models; in Life cycle of the Phosphoria Formation; Hein, J.R., Editor, Elsevier, Amsterdam.  Handbook of Exploration and Environmental Geochemistry, Volume 8, pages 575-598.

Notholt, A.J.G. (1994): Phosphate rocks: factors in economic and technical evaluation; in Whately, M.K.G. and Harvey, P.K., editors; Mineral Resource Evaluation II; Methods and Case Histories, Geological Society Special Publication No. 79, pages 53-65.

Odin, G.S. and Letolle, R. (1980): Glauconitization and phosphatization environments; a tentative comparison, SEPM Special Publication No. 29; The Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, pages 227-237.

Orris, G.J. and Chernoff, C.B. (2004): Review of world sedimentary phosphate deposits and occurrences; in Life cycle of the Phosphoria Formation, Hein, J.R. Editor, Elsevier, Amsterdam; Handbook of Exploration and Environmental Geochemistry, Volume 8, pages 550-573. 

Parsons, S.A. and Smith, J.A. (2008): Phosphorus removal and recovery from municipal wastewaters; Elements, Volume 4, pages 109-112. 

Pell, J. (1991): Yttrium-enriched phosphorites in the Fernie Basin, Southeastern British Columbia; in Hora, Z.D., Hamilton, W.N., Grant, K. and Kelly, P.D. eds., Industrial Minerals of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, Proceedings of the 27th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Open File 1991-23, pages 117-124.

Poulton, T.P. and Aitken, J.D. (1989): The Lower Jurassic phosphorites of southeastern British Columbia and terrane accretion to western North America; Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Volume 26, issue 8, pages 1612-1616.

Prévôt, L. (1990): Geochemistry, Petrography, genesis of Cretaceous-Eocene phosphorites - The Ganntour Deposit (Morocco); a type example; Mémoires de la Société Géologique de France, Société Géologique de France, Paris, Mémoire 158, 232 pages.

Redfield, A.C. (1958):  The biological control on the chemical factors in the environment; American Journal of Science; Volume 46, pages 205-221.

Rogers, M.C. (1995): Phosphorite; in Rogers, M.C., Thurston, P.C., Fyon, J.A., Kelly, R.I. and Breaks, F.W. (comps.), Descriptive Mineral Deposit Models of Metallic and Industrial Deposit Types and Related Mineral Potential Assessment Criteria, Ontario Geological Survey, Open File Report 5916, pages 155-158.

Simandl, G.J. (2009): World fluorspar resources, market and deposit examples from British Columbia, Canada; BC Geological Survey, Information Circular 2009-4, 16 pages.

Simandl, G.J., Fajber, R. and Grieve, D. (2011): Rare Earth concentrations in phosphate deposits, Fernie Formation, South-Eastern British Columbia, Canada; BC Ministry of Energy and Mines; Geofile 2011-08.

Simandl, G.J., Fajber, R. and Ferri, F. (2011): Rare earth concentrations in phosphate deposits, Sulphur Mountain Formation, Northeastern British Columbia, Canada; BC Ministry of Energy and Mines; Geofile 2011-09.

Sheldon, R.P. (1963): Physical stratigraphy and mineral resources of Permian rocks in western Wyoming; US

Geological Survey, Professional Paper, 313-B, 273 pages.

Slansky, M. (1980): Géologie des phosphates sedimentaires; Mémoire B.R.G.M. 114; 92 pages.

Swanson, R.G. (1981): Sample examination manual; American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Methods in Exploration Series; No. 1, 117 pages.

Trappe, J. (1998): Phanerozoic phosphorite depositional systems–A Dynamic Model for a Sedimentary Resource System; Spinger Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, Germany, 256 pages.

Zhang, P., Weigel, R. and El-Shall, H. (2006): Phosphate Rock; in Industrial Minerals & Rocks; Commodities, Markets, and Uses, Kogel, J.E., Trivedi, N.C., Barker, J.M. and Krukowski, S.T., eds., Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc. (SME), Littleton, Colorado, U.S.A.; pages 703-722. 

Paradis, S. and Simandl, G.J. (2012): Sedimentary phosphate deposits Mineral Deposit Profile F07; in Geological Fieldwork 2011, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 2012-1, pages 217-222.



*  Note:  All BC deposit profile #s with an asterisk have no completed deposit profile.  USGS deposit model #s with an asterisk had no published model in the late 1990s. 

Examples of Chemical Sediment Deposits

BC Profile # Global Examples B.C. Examples
 F01 Molongo (Mexico), Atasu (Kazakhstan), Kalahari (South Arica) - -
 F02 Paris Basin (France), Appalachian Basins (New York, Pennsylvania) Lussier River, Windermere
 F03 Texas, Louisiana, Poland, Coronation (Alberta) Trutch area
F04* Lake Enon (Nova Scotia), Mexico, Germany Kitsault Lake
F05* Metalline Falls (Washington) - -
F06 Juntura and Trout Ck Formations (Oregon), Lake Myvatn (Iceland) Crownite Formation (Quesnel)
F07 Phosphoria Formation (Idaho), Meskala (Morocco) Fernie synclinorium
F08 Athabaska Basin (Saskatchewan), Florida - -
F09 - - - -
F10* Mesabi Ranges (Minnesota), Mackenzie Mountains (Yukon) - -
F11* Clinton Formation (Alabama), France, Germany Peace River region


[Back to top]