Starobin Potassium-Salt Basin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Starobin Potassium-Salt Basin


(also Pripiat’ Potash Basin), a basin within the Minsk, Mogilev, and Gomel’ oblasts of the Byelorussian SSR. The area of the basin is approximately 14,000 sq km, and geological reserves total 50 billion tons (7.5 billion tons of K20). The major deposit, that at Starobin, was discovered in 1949. Four horizons of potassium salts have been established, with the number increasing to 20–25 in the east. The potassium salts lie in separate horizons (strata) that are contemporaneous with a series of bands of rock salt in a salt-bearing formation of late-Devonian origin. The strata are well bedded, with salt tectonics evident in places. The thickness of the horizons varies from 0.5 to 30 m, and that of the productive strata from 0.5 to 8 m. The potassium horizons occupy an area of 500 to 2,500 sq km (where the depth of the bedding is 350–2,000 m and more).

The potassium salts of the Starobin Potassium-Salt Basin are potassium chloride and magnesium chloride (sylvinite and rock containing carnallite); the content of potassium chloride in the sylvinites varies from 14 to 35–40 percent. The Fiftieth Anniversary of the USSR Beloruskalii Combine, with an annual production of up to 8.1 million tons of standard fertilizers (41.6 percent K20), is supplied by the mines of the Starobin deposit. The center of the basin is the city of Soligorsk. Among the other materials obtained from the basin are rock salt, petroleum, peat, and the minerals used in construction materials.


“Geologiia i usloviia formirovaniia Starobinskogo mestorozhdeniia kaliinykh solei v Belorussii.” Tr. Vses. n.-i. geologicheskogo in-ta: Novaia seriia, 1961, vol. 68.
Geologiia ipetrografiia kaliinykh solei Belorussii. Minsk, 1969.
Mestorozhdeniia kaliinykh solei SSSR. Leningrad, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.