Kinematics of regional salt flow in the northern Gulf of Mexico
Xavier Fort, Jean-Pierre Brun, 2012. "Kinematics of regional salt flow in the northern Gulf of Mexico", Salt Tectonics, Sediments and Prospectivity, G. I. Alsop, S. G. Archer, A. J. Hartley, N. T. Grant, R. Hodgkinson
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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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