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Book Chapter

Continental Margins: Basic Principles

Published:
January 01, 1984

Abstract

The continental margin, as the term is commonly used, encompasses a critical boundary between the shallow to subaerial environments that rim a basin and the deep basin floor. Also implicit in the term is the association with a crustal boundary or transition separating continental and oceanic basement. Thus, continental margins are major physiographic, bathymetric, and structural features of the Earth’s skin.

The three bathymetric and depositional regimes that form the continental margin include the shelf, shelf edge, and continental slope (fig. 1). As we shall see, our concepts about continental shelves, which are prejudiced by the Holocene high stand of sea level, may require some modification.

The modern continental margin of the Northwest Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico is readily described in terms of water depth and depositional gradient. However, recognition of paleocontinental margins in the stratigraphic record proves more difficult. Several criteria that may be used include (1)

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Contents

AAPG Continuing Education Course Notes Series

Structural and Depositional Styles of Gulf Coast Tertiary Continental Margins: Application to Hydrocarbon Exploration

Martin P.A. Jackson
Martin P.A. Jackson
Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin
Search for other works by this author on:
William E. Galloway
William E. Galloway
Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Volume
25
ISBN electronic:
9781629811543
Publication date:
January 01, 1984

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