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Previous investigations on the Mesozoic rift history of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) have focused on the pre-rift geometrical fits of continental crust in North America, Mexico, Chiapas, and Yucatan. Less emphasis has been placed on inferring the process of lithospheric thinning known from other, better studied, rifted margins including: (1) mantle plume vs. crustal controls on rifting; (2) magma-poor vs. magma-rich style; and (3) linking stratigraphic and/or uplift events to each stage of the rifting, including the deposition of massive evaporites.

Observations based on interpretations of ~17,000 km of deep-penetration 2D seismic lines tied to wells have lead...

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