Abstract

Structural and sequence stratigraphic interpretations of two-dimensional seismic and well data from northern Green Canyon and Ewing Bank were integrated to evaluate how salt deformation influenced the distribution of Pliocene-Pleistocene facies in time and space. Two techniques were employed. First, twelve palinspastic maps of near-surface structure were constructed. These were combined with maps of interpreted depositional environments to show how shallow salt diapirism created bathymetric relief that influenced the configuration of sediment transport systems and depocenters through time. Second, tectonostratigraphic packages comprising multiple sequences were defined based on external geometry. Different stacking patterns of these packages characterize four types of minibasins, each with a distinct history of salt evacuation from underlying salt stocks and sheets. Interpreted seismic facies were analyzed within this minibasin framework to evaluate how deep-salt withdrawal influenced the distribution of depositional systems. The results show that both structural and sedimentological variables influenced lithofacies development. External factors dictated the volume and type of systemwide clastic input. Regional factors, such as nearby salt structures and the position of deltas, controlled the dispersal of clastics. Local factors, such as the thickness of underlying salt, influenced minibasin-specific evolution. These factors interacted at three scales: (1) a broad transition from sand-rich ponded settings to shale-dominated bypass settings during the Pliocene-Pleistocene, (2) fluctuations over periods of several sequences that created highly variable stratigraphic stacking patterns, and (3) a progression from ponded to bypass facies within individual sea level cycles. Analysis of these various factors can improve the prediction of reservoir distribution within slope minibasins, and thereby reduce the risk in subsalt and deep-water exploration.

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