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Kinematics of regional salt flow in the northern Gulf of Mexico

By
Xavier Fort
Xavier Fort
g.o. logical consulting, 54 rue de la garenne, 35510 Cesson-Sévigné, France
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Jean-Pierre Brun
Jean-Pierre Brun
Université Rennes 1, Géosciences Rennes UMR 6118, CNRS, 35042 Rennes, France
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Published:
January 01, 2012

Abstract

The kinematics of regional-scale salt flow in the northern Gulf of Mexico is analysed using: (i) a map of shelf-break contours at the termination of successive depositional episodes; (ii) the location and geometry of large-scale structures of the slope domain as imaged by seismics; and (iii) digital slope bathymetry. In the north margin, salt has flowed towards the SW since the Cretaceous with three main stages of development prior to, during and after a massive salt extrusion in the Early Miocene time. The corresponding sequence of structural development is discussed using a laboratory model. Contrary to all previous interpretations that invoked sedimentary loading as the main driving force, the analysis of regional-scale salt flow implies that the salt tectonics of the northern Gulf of Mexico is predominantly controlled by gliding above the margin dip. The SW-directed salt flow indicates that the north margin of the northern Gulf of Mexico trends NW–SE, in agreement with plate kinematic models in which the Yucatan continental block has undergone a 45–60° dextral rotation relative to its present orientation.

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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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