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Salt Range Formation:

Wynne (1878) named and described the formation as 'Saline Series'. Gee (1945) called the
same unit as the 'Punjab Saline Series'. Asrarullah (1967) has given the present name Salt Range
Formation' ater the Salt Range. Khewra Gorge in the eastern Salt Rangehas been designated as
the type section. The lower pat of the Salt Range Formation is composed of red-coloured
gypseous marl with thick seams of salt, beds of gypsum, dolomite, greenish clay and low-grade
oil shale are the constituents of the upper pat.
A highly weathered igneous body known as "Khewra Trap" has been reported rom the upper
pat of the formation. The" Khewra Trap", also known as "Khewrite" by Mosebach (1956), is six
meters thick and is purple to green in colour. It consists of highly decomposed radiating needles
of a light-coloured mineral, probably pyroxene.The red-coloured marl consists chiely of clay,
gypsum and dolomite with occasional grains and crystals of quartz of variable sizes. Thickbedded salt shows various shades of pink colour and well-developed laminations and colour
bandings up to a meter thick. Minor amounts of potassium and magnesium sulphates are found in
association with the shale beds. The gypsum is white to light grey in colour. It is about 5 m thick,
massive and is associated with bluish grey, clayey gypsum and if earthy, riable gypseous clay.
The dolomite is usually light colour, it is laggy and cherty. It is associated with dofomitic
shale, bituminous shale and low-grade oil shale. Asrarullah (op. cit.) made a detailed study of the
Salt Range Formation and divided the formation into three members in the following succession:
Sahiwal Marl Member: (a) Bright red marl beds with irregular gypsum, dolomite beds and
Khewra Trap (3-100 m) and (b) Dull red marl beds with some salt seams and 10 m thick gypsum
bed on the top; (more than 40 m). Bhandar Kas Gypsum Member: Massive gypsum with minor
beds of dolomite and clay; (more than 80 m). Billianwala Salt Member: Ferruginous red marl
with thick seams of salt (more than 650 m). The formation represents evaporite sedimentation,
which took place in an enclosed basin in arid conditions. The clastic material was transported
rom Peninsular India and deposited under oxidizing conditions. The Salt Range Formation is
exposed along the southern lank of the Salt Range, rom Kussak in the east to Kalabagh in the
west.

In the subsurface, the rock unit has been encountered as far in south as Karampur in the
Punjab plains and in the north at Dhulian oil ield in the Potwar area. The thickness of the Salt
Rang Formation in the type section at Khewra Gorge is more than 830 m. It has been found by
drilling that the thickness is more than 2000 m at Dhariala. The base of the Salt Range Formation
is only known rom the Karampur well, where the formation overlies the metamorphic rocks,
presumably of Precambrian age.
The contact with the overlying Khewra Sandstone is generally normal and conformable. The
age of the Salt Range Formation, its palcontological record and its contact with the overlying
rocks has long been a controversial topic. Details of this controversy are beyond the scope of this
report. Sahni (1939, 1945,1947) and others have reported Tertiary microfossils rom it. Gee
(1947) has very reasonably differed with the interpretation of a Tertiary age of the formation.
More recently Schindcwolf and Seilacher (in Teichet, 1964) have supported the views of Gee.
They suspected that the Tertiary fossils reported rom this formation by Sahni (1947) that were
due to contamination.
The overlying Khewra Sandstone is probably of Early Cambrian age, as observed by Gee (1945);
Schindcwolf and Seilacher (1955). The Salt Range Formation is therefore, assigned an Early
Cambrian to Late Precambrian age