Abstract

We restore the steady state heat flow of the NW shelf of the GoM by removing the transient effects of sedimentation, erosion and compaction. We estimate sedimentation and erosion rates for the NW margin of the GoM from stratigraphic data and vitrinite reflectance data, respectively, and show that they both affect significantly the thermal field. We perform a thermal modeling for 166 wells within the Texan shelf. We conclude that there is a general southeastward increase in the heat flow. This increase also correlates with major tectonic features of the NW shelf of the GoM. We propose that the main zones of extension, of fast recent sedimentation, and crustal thinning are due to geologically recent lithospheric thinning responsible for the higher heat flow.

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