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Book Chapter

Gulf Coast Tertiary Depositional Units

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Published:
January 01, 1984

Abstract

The overall depositional history of the Northwest Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico reflects multiple cycles of clastic influx (depositional episodes) punctuated by thin, occasionally regional transgressions. Regional stratigraphic analysis of the major clastic episodes shows two types (fig. 1).

  1. Major episodes rapidly prograded to the existing continental margin and resulted in widespread construction of new continental platform. Slope off lap resulted.

  2. Minor episodes of sediment input prograded the shoreline only partially across the extant submerged continental platform. The shelf margin remained a zone of slow pelagic sedimentation, sediment bypass, or possibly erosion. The slope may have been blanketed by spillover of distal prodelta and shelf suspended sediments or low-density turbidity currents. Little opportunity for deposition of sand at the shelf margin or onto the slope existed.

A tentative classification of -Tertiary depositional episodes is shown in figure 2. For comparison, the episodes, known subregional inner coastal plain unconformities, regional transgressive marine shales, and onlap or gorge fills (reflecting submarine erosion and deep marine deposition landward of the general continental margin) are plotted beside the Cenozoic cycle chart. It appears that in a depositionally active trailing-edge margin, such as the Northern Gulf, sediment supply or other controls supersede eustatic cycles in determining depositional history.

Principal sediment input shifted among three axes - the Rio Grande, Houston, and Mississippi embayments (fig. 3). Major delta systems prograded a sand-rich continental margin at the basinward margin of these depoaxes.

Major off lap episodes mobilize

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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
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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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