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Tectonic Evolution of the South Gulf Salt Province in the Gulf of Mexico
A model of regional tectonic evolution in the passive margin basin of the Gulf of Mexico in the South Gulf Salt Province (SGSP) is proposed. Main tectonic sequences are: (1) Middle Jurassic rift system; (2) Late Jurassic–Cretaceous gravitational deformation event; (3) Eocene–Middle Miocene tectonic compression; and (4) Late Miocene–Recent regional extensional-contractional linked system. The Callovian salt played a major role in the structural styles of the SGSP. Eocene–Middle Miocene tectonic compression is the maximum stage of deformation, where the tectonic transport direction was from southwest to northeast. This event was set up because of the establishment of the subduction between the Cocos and North America plates, producing what is known as the Chiapas Fold Belt. Based on seismic transects interpretation, this event is represented in the subsurface by different structures such as anticlinal folds, and salt thrust structures, which detached in the Callovian salt.
Eocene–Middle Miocene structures were re-deformed later during the southeast-northwest extensional-contractional linked system in the Late Miocene–Recent event; furthermore, the tectonic compression continues active to the present in a perpendicular direction. This particular setting of superimposed tectonic events makes SGSP a structurally complex area. For the purpose of exploration, a detailed petroleum system modeling is required in order to define mainly both timing of migration routes and type of hydrocarbons generated and preserved.
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