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Salt Anticline—East Texas Basin

P.L. Inderwiesen
P.L. Inderwiesen
Texaco Incorporated
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January 01, 1983


The seismic line depicting the salt anticline is located in Van Zandt County, Texas (Figure 1). The line is oriented in a northwest to southeast direction and is approximately 18.1 km (11.25 mi) long.

The structural deformation of Mesozoic and Tertiary sediments in the East Texas basin is caused by movement of the underlying Middle Jurassic salt. The East Texas basin is one of several grabens which developed in response to the Triassic rifting of the Gulf of Mexico (Kreitler, 1980; Jackson, 1981). The boundary of the East Texas basin is delineated by the Mexia-Talco Fault System to the north and west, by the Sabine Uplift to the east, and the Angelina-Caldwell flexure to the south which separates the embayment from the Gulf Coast basin (Figure 1; Collins et al, 1981; Wood and Guevara, 1981).

Initially the East Texas basin was partly restricted allowing the deposition of up to 2 km (1.2 mi) of salt (Kreitler, 1980). Subsequent subsidence of the basin combined with the rapid deposition of clastics in the Early Cretaceous (Seni and Kreitler, 1981) provided the differential loading required for salt movement (Trusheim, 1960). Consequently, both salt anticlines and salt domes were formed from the lateral and vertical migration of salt. Regionally the salt anticlines are found mainly on the outer edges of the basin while salt domes are located toward the middle of the basin where both the overburden and salt may have been the thickest (Wood, 1981).

Turtle-shaped anticlines are regionally found among salt domes and salt anticlines. The formation of these structures is summarized here from descriptions by Wood (1981) and Wood and Guevara (1981). Initially salt migrates away from an area of maximum deposition causing the formation of a withdrawal basin in the overlying sediments. Complete withdrawal of salt first occurs at the basin's center where the sediments are the thickest and then progresses outward. Once the salt is completely withdrawn from beneath the basin the thickest sediments form the core and the collapsed flanks of the withdrawal basin form the limbs of the turtle-shaped anticline.

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AAPG Studies in Geology

Seismic Expression of Structural Styles: A Picture and Work Atlas. Volume 1–The Layered Earth, Volume 2–Tectonics Of Extensional Provinces, & Volume 3–Tectonics Of Compressional Provinces

A. W. Bally
A. W. Bally
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
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Publication date:
January 01, 1983




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