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Abstract

The northwestern Gulf of Mexico basin has emerged as an archetype example of a robust, progradational passive margin system that induces substantial translation over underlying detachments due to gravitational loading. Despite this recognition, the difficulties in deep imaging of seismic data have continued to obscure key features of this deformation. Megaregional, 2D, long-offset PSDM data help advance the interpretation of the Paleogene and Miocene of the Gulf of Mexico. We present results from new seismic line composites made up of reprocessed PSDM legacy onshore data (sourced from SEI and GPI), and newly acquired ocean bottom cable data and marine streamer data acquired and processed by GX Technology. Key lines from this dataset link robust, onshore shelf lowstand wedges to deep-water sediments and more clearly image deep structural styles and salt remobilization events. The lines span approximately 300 miles (500 km) from onshore Texas to the ultra-deep water and finally show the full size of geologic features, including a regional salt weld that starts onshore at the top Eocene and extends for over 100 km, ramping up to Oligocene. The interpretation highlights the effects of gravitational forces on the stratigraphic section and delineates prominent extensional faults that sole-out at major detachment levels and are linked to a newly recognized Paleogene thrust belt, as well as to previously documented Oligo-Miocene contractional belts. Significant lateral translation occurs along these detachments. The data image a key fault connection from Oligo-Miocene extensional faults down to the Louann detachment surface, and the interpretations provide viable scenarios for Oligo-Miocene expansion to drive the Perdido fold belt along the Louann detachment.

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