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Abstract

Deep-water carbonate debris aprons adjacent to shallow-water platforms are complex depositional features that are produced by density-flow and suspension processes. Sediment is supplied from the platform margin and from biota living in the shallower part of the open sea. The Lower Cretaceous (latest Aptian to latest Albian) Tamabra Formation in the Poza Rica field area of eastern Mexico is a debris apron deposited adjacent to the western side of the Tuxpan Platform in east-central Mexico. Its stratal architecture is well defined by 3-D seismic, cores, and wireline-log data, allowing analysis of depositional processes that created the lithofacies and sequence stratigraphic controls on depositional architecture and patterns. Within the Tamabra debris apron, an orderly pattern of depositional units reflects the control of relative sea-level changes on the availability of source material and types of density flows generated. Thick intervals of debris-flow and mud-flow deposits, composed of platform- and slope-derived carbonate muds, skeletal grains, and clasts, are interpreted as being deposited during sea-level lowstands and transgressions or during early highstands when the platform was rapidly aggrading, whereas thick intervals of hyperconcentrated to concentrated density-flow and turbidite deposits, composed of skeletal sands, are interpreted as having been deposited when the platform was flooded and shedding during highstands of sea level. The Tamabra debris apron is an excellent analog for comparing with other carbonate debris aprons and for use in deciphering other debris aprons having poor data control.

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