Physiography and bathymetry
Published:January 01, 1991
The topographic relief and bathymetry of the Gulf of Mexico basin area reflect quite closely the geologic structure of the basin (Fig. 1 and Plates 1 and 3). Parts of the structural rims along the northern, northwestern, and western flanks of the basin are marked by mountain ranges and highlands: the southern plunge of the Appalachians and the Ouachita Mountains to the north, the Edwards Plateau and the low ridges of the Marathon area to the northwest, and the Sierra Madre Oriental to the west. From the foothills of these highlands, the coastal plains slope toward the Gulf of Mexico, a small ocean basin that occupies the central and deeper part of the basin. To the north and northwest, the coastal plains and the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico are widest and have a gentler slope toward the center of the Gulf, corresponding to the gentle slope of the “basement” in the region. To the west, in eastern Mexico, the coastal plain and the shelf are much narrower and steeper, as is the “basement” surface. To the southeast and east, the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, which in its deepest part reaches depths of a little more than 3,700 m, rises steeply along the Campeche and Florida submarine escarpments to the flat Yucatan and Florida carbonate platforms, under which the “basement” is similarly flat and featureless. Much of these two platforms lies submerged below the waters of the Gulf of Mexico at depths of less than 200
Figures & Tables
The Gulf of Mexico Basin
Eighteen chapters deal with the entire Gulf of Mexico basin. Included are significant contributions from Mexican geologists. Nine topical chapters cover regional aspects of physiography and bathymetry, structural framework, the basement crust, salt tectonics and listric faulting, igneous activity, seismic stratigraphy, oil and gas resources, mineral resources and geopressured-geothermal energy, and ground water. Six chapters summarize regional stratigraphy and paleogeography for the pre-Triassic, Triassic-Jurassic, Lower Cretaceous, Upper Cretaceous, Cenozoic, and late Quaternary. Also included is a synthesis of the origin and development of the Gulf of Mexico basin. Six 4-color plates summarize the bathymetry, natural resources, tectonics, and basement structure and subcrop of the region, and provide a stratigraphic correlation chart and geologic cross sections.