Origin and development of the Gulf of Mexico basin
Published:January 01, 1991
For more than 100 years, geologists have speculated about the initial steps of the formation of the present Gulf of Mexico basin. A review of the literature, most likely incomplete, uncovered more than 70 publications on the subject by close to 80 authors.
Early workers (Schuchert, 1909; Willis, 1909) considered the Gulf of Mexico to be an ancient feature, a deep-water body in existence since the Precambrian. Willis (in Schuchert, 1935, p. 72) regarded the Gulf as representing “a mass of basalt which was erupted in Pre-Cambrian time…,” a basin “of great antiquity.”
With increased information on the area opinions progressively changed, and from the late 1910s to the early 1930s most contributors to the controversy came to favor a much later beginning for the Gulf of Mexico basin (Dumble, 1918; Miser, 1921; Schuchert, 1923, 1929, 1935; Sellards, 1932; and a number of others). They believed that during most of the Paleozoic a continental landmass or borderland, most commonly referred to as “Llanoria,” occupied the northwestern part of the present Gulf of Mexico basin, from northeastern Mexico to Mississippi, and included a large but undetermined part of the present northwestern Gulf of Mexico (Fig. 1), an idea first implied by Edward Suess (1888) in his celebrated Das A ntlitz der Erde. In the southeastern part of the present gulf, the borderland was thought to have been submerged and covered by a shallow sea; the entire area was regarded as a “neutral area, or better, a slightly negative one,” an “ancient
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.