Abstract

Salt-detached ramp-syncline basins are developed in extensional settings and are characterized by wide synclinal sedimentary basins detached on salt and formed above the hanging wall of active ramp-flat-ramp extensional faults. They are rarely fault bounded; instead, they are bounded by salt structures that are in general parallel to the major subsalt structures. As such, the formation of these extensional systems requires the presence of (1) a subsalt extensional fault with significant dip changes and (2) an evaporitic unit above the extensional fault, which partially or completely decouples the basin from a subsalt extensional fault. Salt-detached ramp-syncline basins have a significant exploration potential when their extensional geometry is preserved and when they have undergone positive tectonic inversion and consequent uplift and fold amplification. However, in some cases, their subsalt geometry may not be fully recognizable, especially when subsalt seismic imaging is poor. To obtain a deeper understanding of the geometry and kinematic evolution of these salt-detached ramp-syncline basins, we performed a series of analog modeling experiments, in which the models’ cross sections had been sequentially restored. Analog models and restoration results reveal that the kinematic evolution of the salt-detached ramp-syncline basins during extension and inversion depends on the interaction of different factors that may function simultaneously. Our results are used to improve the interpretation of seismic sections in inverted Mesozoic salt-detached ramp-syncline basins on the Atlantic margins, where subsalt faults are not well-imaged, and thus the suprasalt geometries must be used to infer the subsalt structure.

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