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Geologic Processes and Seafloor Stability, Continental Shelf and Slope, Northwest Gulf of Mexico Case Studies

By
Anita Trippet
Anita Trippet
U.S. Geological Survey
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Published:
January 01, 1981

Abstract

The East and West Flower Garden Banks are located in the High Island Federal lease block area off the coast of southeast Texas-southwestern Louisiana (figure 1). The Flower Garden Banks are the largest of more than 130 submarine banks occurring along the outer continental shelf in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico (Parker and Curray, 1956). What makes the Flower Garden Banks unique is the fact that living reefs have been observed on the crests of both banks, constituting the northernmost thriving tropical shallow water coral reefs on the eastern coast of North America (Bright and Pequegnat, 1974).

Both East and West Flower Garden Banks are perched atop salt-cored diapirs in an area of extensive hydrocarbon accumulation, Exploration and drilling in their immediate vicinity are limited by the boundaries of a national marine sanctuary established around each bank to protect the living reefs.

The bathymetry of the Flower Garden banks area reveals a flat, smooth plain surrounding the two diapirs and sloping gently to about the 150 meter contour, where a sudden increase in steepness marks the edge of the continental shelf (figure 2). The topography of both Flower Garden banks is essentially fault-controlled. East Flower Garden Bank is asymmetrical, with greatest relief along the southeastern flank, where water depth increases from 50 to 130 meters over a distance of one kilometer. West Flower Garden Bank rises from 110 meters water depth to the summit at 24 meters.

Evidence of regional salt movement and active faulting indicates the Flower Garden diapirs

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AAPG Continuing Education Course Notes Series

Offshore Geologic Hazards: A Short Course Presented at Rice University, May 2-3, 1981 for the Offshore Technology Conference

Arnold Bouma
Arnold Bouma
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Dwight Sangrey
Dwight Sangrey
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James Coleman
James Coleman
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David Prior
David Prior
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Anita Trippet
Anita Trippet
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Wayne Dunlap
Wayne Dunlap
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James Hooper
James Hooper
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Volume
18
ISBN electronic:
9781629812618
Publication date:
January 01, 1981

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