Salt in passive margin settings
This work addresses the geological and geophysical interpretation of salt structures in selected Brazilian sedimentary basins, from intracratonic Palaeozoic evaporites in the Amazon and Solimões basins to divergent margin evaporite basins formed during the Mesozoic break-up of Gondwana. There is an intriguing correlation between evaporite basins and hydrocarbon accumulations in all the selected basins discussed. The Solimões and Amazonas basins developed evaporite depositing environments as the Middle Carboniferous sea was closing during a plate convergence phase. The salt basin along the eastern Brazilian and western African margins developed along the Mesozoic rifts of the South Atlantic. Regional seismic interpretation and potential field (gravity and magnetic) data over the eastern Brazilian and west African margins suggest a very thick autochthonous salt layer deposited over rifted continental crust and particularly above the thick sag basin sediments over the hyperextended crust that marks the transition from continental to oceanic crust. Most of the hydrocarbon discoveries in the eastern Brazilian and western African margins are in post-salt turbidite and carbonate reservoirs, but recent discoveries in the deepwater salt basins along the southeastern Brazilian margin indicate that pre-salt plays will represent an important contribution to hydrocarbon production in the near future.