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Geoscientist Online

Salt Tectonics: Principles and Practice

ghkRight up until his untimely death in May 2016, Martin Jackson was working and the posthumous publication of this book with his University of Texas at Austin colleague Mike Hudec is a fitting tribute to his dedication to salt tectonics. The volume is well-written, superbly illustrated and is clearly a labour of love borne from a life-long devotion to structural geology and halokinesis.

The book is separated into four main sections covering Evaporite Deposition and Flow; Salt Structures; Salt Tectonic Systems; and Practical Applications of Salt Tectonics. Each is subdivided into component chapters.

The first section begins with a short but wide-ranging overview outlining the importance of salt. While I am not sure the excavated head of an Iranian Iron Age miner was really needed, it did cause me to sit up and think: this is not going to be a run-of-the-mill textbook. The next two introductory chapters describe evaporite minerals, the depositional settings in which they occur, their material properties, rock mechanics, the laws that govern salt flow and the importance of elastic deformation, fracture strength, creep rheology, forces that drive salt movement and the microstructures that result.

A series of six chapters makes up the second section, describing pillows, anticlines, stocks, walls, sheets, canopies, minibasins and welds. The next section examines the interaction between structures in linked salt-tectonic systems, including basement-detached extensional deformation, turtle-back structures, rift-raft tectonic geometries, the structural styles that characterise rifts and passive margins, contractional salt-tectonic systems, drawing upon examples from onshore fold-and-thrust belt, deep marine toe-thrust, basin inversion and strike-slip settings.

The fourth and final section provides useful pointers for seismic interpreters who seek to identify prospective parts of a basin. It also touches upon key issues like depth conversion and data distortion and their consequences for mapping and guidance on how to recognise feeder systems and minibasins that are encased in salt. The last chapter focuses on the key elements of the petroleum system including a description of stratigraphic traps located on the flanks of salt diapirs, and drilling hazards.

In conclusion, this is an excellent book. Allowing for the omission of igneous interactions with salt, it is arguably the most comprehensive textbook on salt tectonics and is essential reading for anyone wishing to get up-to-speed with the latest thinking on the subject.

Reviewed by John Underhill

SALT TECTONICS: PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE by MARTIN P A JACKSON & MICHAEL R HUDEC 2017.  Published by: Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781107013315 (hbk) List Price: £49.99. W: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/salt-tectonics/446C8E30E32056FC371BEE9A807D9792