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Abstract

Salt deformation in offshore southern Gabon is represented by mobilization of an Aptian salt layer in reaction to Tertiary clastic progradation. Seismic mapping of salt bodies and associated faulting has resulted in increased understanding of the types and distribution of these salt bodies, their associated faulting patterns, and some aspects of their origin.

Away from the Tertiary depocenter, the growth history of salt swells or pillows can be determined by examining onlapping and draping seismic reflectors. Significant Tertiary clastic progradation into the area mobilized the salt and resulted in a series of linear, deep salt walls and asymmetric, basinward-dipping salt rollers, commonly associated with significant up-to-basin listric faulting. The up-to-basin faulting dominates the southern Gabon subbasin. The expansion history of associated sediments suggests that these faults expanded episodically throughout the Tertiary, continuing to present-day bathymétrie fault scarps. The bias toward up-to-basin faults, to the apparent exclusion of down-to-basin expansion faults, remains enigmatic.

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