Abstract

The Permian Basin is a structurally complex sedimentary basin with an extensive history of tectonic deformation. As the basin evolved through time, sediments dispersed into the basin floor from surrounding carbonate platforms leading to various mass movements. One such mass movement is observed on a 3D seismic survey in the Upper Leonard interval (Lower Permian) of the Midland Basin that is characteristic of a mass transport deposit (MTD). The 350 ft thick MTD mapped in the study area is 5 mi wide, extends up to 14 mi basinward, and covers only the translational and compressional regime of the mass movement. A unique sedimentary feature, unlike those observed previously, is mapped and interpreted as gravity spreading. MTDs have been extensively studied in the Delaware Basin of Permian-aged strata; however, only a few works have been published on the geomorphological expression of MTDs using seismic and seismic attributes to delineate the shape, size, and anatomy of this subsurface feature. The MTD in the study area exhibits an array of features including slide, slump, basal shear surface, and MTD grooves. In cross section, the MTD is characterized as chaotic with semitransparent reflectors terminating laterally against a coherent package of seismic facies, or the lateral wall. Sobel filter-based coherence, structural curvature, dip magnitude, and dip azimuth attributes are used to map thrust faults within the discontinuous MTD. Kinematic evidence provided by the Upper Spraberry isopach suggests that this MTD was sourced north of the Midland Basin and deposited on the basin floor fairway. Slope strata are interpreted from well-log analysis showing MTD as a mixture of carbonates and siliciclastics with a moderate to high resistivity response.

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