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Integrating 3D seismic data with structural restorations to elucidate the evolution of a stepped counter-regional salt system, Eastern Louisiana Shelf, Northern Gulf of Mexico

By
Bruce D. Trudgill
Bruce D. Trudgill
Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK (Current address: Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401, USA; (e-mail: btrudgil@mines.edu)Formerly at the Energy & Minerals Applied Research Center (EMARC), University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
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Mark G. Rowan
Mark G. Rowan
Rowan Consulting Inc., 850 8th St., Boulder, CO 80302, USAFormerly at the Energy & Minerals Applied Research Center (EMARC), University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2004

Abstract

By integrating 3D and 2D seismic interpretation with structural restorations we have reconstructed the evolution of a complex, composite stepped counter-regional salt system in the West Delta/South Pass (WDSP) area of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Biostratigraphically calibrated well data allow the last 10 Ma of the evolution of the salt system to be divided into six stages: (1) sea-floor extrusion of isolated salt tongues fed from the Jurassic Louann salt through northward dipping feeders prior to 7.5 Ma; (2) amalgamation of the salt tongues to form a salt-tongue canopy between 7.5 and 6.4 Ma; (3) counter-regional evacuation of the salt-tongue canopy as a result of enhanced sediment loading due to progradation of the shelf margin between 6.4 and 5.0Ma; (4) evacuation of salt into a series of salt walls linking salt domes between 5.00 and 2.55 Ma; (5) evacuation of the salt walls to form counter-regional fault welds between 1.95 and 0.5 Ma; and (6) final evacuation of most of the salt from deeper levels leaving a series of isolated salt domes connected by counter-regional fault welds. The counter-regional evacuation of the WDSP salt systems illustrates the value and limitations of published 2D models for allochthonous salt, and the reconstructed evolution yields insights into the complex interactions between salt deformation and sedimentation. The results also suggest that the WDSP salt systems significantly affected sediment transport pathways, trap geometries and possibly late stage petroleum migration across evacuating salt welds.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Memoirs

3D Seismic Technology: Application to the Exploration of Sedimentary Basins

Richard J. Davies
Richard J. Davies
Cardiff University, UK
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Joseph A. Cartwright
Joseph A. Cartwright
Cardiff University, UK
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Simon A. Stewart
Simon A. Stewart
BP, Azerbaijan
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Mark Lappin
Mark Lappin
ExxonMobil Exploration Company, USA
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John R. Underhill
John R. Underhill
The University of Edinburgh, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
29
ISBN electronic:
9781862394049
Publication date:
January 01, 2004

GeoRef

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