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Structural Characterization and Tectonic Evolutional Onshore-Offshore Model at the Mexican Northwestern Portion of the Gulf of Mexico
A regional evolutional tectonic model, typical of passive margin basins was constrained at the Mexican northwestern portion of the Gulf of Mexico, in the area known as the Northern Gulf Salt Province (NGSP). Four tectonic events were identified using regional transects, which can be summarized as: (1) Rift basins of depositional mother-salt setting development during the Middle Jurassic; (2) Gravitational extension-halokinetic system associated to diapirs and salt canopies during Jurassic-Paleocene time; (3) Secondary minibasins development during Eocene; and (4) Extentional-contractional linked systems, developed in four overlapped stages: Early Oligocene, Late Oligocene–Present, Early Miocene–Present, and Late Miocene–Present.
The structural linked systems of progressive gravitational-extension of early Oligocene to Present time were developed due to basin tilting and platform collapse due to the progradational sedimentary wedge load. Salt structures were formed by the movement of the autochthonous salt to a variety of allochthonous salt structures in the middle of the basin (translation zone), and the development of a contractional system at the edge-seaward linked system, at the eastern side of the basin, during the late Miocene–Present time stage.
Several salt-structures, which are associated to this major linked system, represent hydrocarbon traps relevant as deepwater exploration targets in the NGSP. Similar structures have been successful discoveries in the U.S. side of the Gulf of Mexico.
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