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Anatomy of an exposed vertical salt weld and flanking strata, La Popa Basin, Mexico

By
Mark G. Rowan
Mark G. Rowan
Rowan Consulting, Inc., 850 8th St, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
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Timothy F. Lawton
Timothy F. Lawton
Institute of Tectonic Studies, New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
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Katherine A. Giles
Katherine A. Giles
Institute of Tectonic Studies, New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2012

Abstract

La Popa Weld in La Popa Basin, Mexico, is a 24 km long near-vertical structure with a prominent bend approximately halfway along its length. Halokinetic folding, local unconformities and diapir-derived detritus in flanking strata document a precursor salt wall. Shortening during the latest Cretaceous to Eocene Hidalgoan Orogeny squeezed the salt wall to form the weld. Deformation varies significantly along the weld. The northwestern third has remnant gypsum (including a diapir at the northwestern end), little large-scale folding of flanking strata and only background fracture intensity. Directly NW of the bend are pods of gypsum linked by complete welds, a large-scale cuspate anticlinal geometry and significant fracturing within 5–10 m of the weld. The southeastern half is completely welded with no remnant gypsum, a prominent cuspate anticlinal geometry and a 50 m wide damage zone. The variable deformation was controlled by the original width of the salt wall and the amount and direction of shortening. Where orthogonal to the wall, shortening locally closed the diapir but little further deformation took place. Where oblique, shortening caused post-weld dextral strike-slip movement and significant fracturing and shearing of the wall rock. The resulting deformation variability likely impacted the sealing capability of the weld.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Salt Tectonics, Sediments and Prospectivity

G. I. Alsop
G. I. Alsop
University of Aberdeen, UK
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S. G. Archer
S. G. Archer
University of Aberdeen, UK
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A. J. Hartley
A. J. Hartley
University of Aberdeen, UK
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N. T. Grant
N. T. Grant
ConocoPhillips UK Ltd, Aberdeen, UK
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R. Hodgkinson
R. Hodgkinson
Bowleven plc, Edinburgh, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
363
ISBN electronic:
9781862396111
Publication date:
January 01, 2012

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