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Post-Aptian (post-112 Ma) strata in the East Texas basin were strongly influenced by halokinesis and therefore record the evolution of associated salt structures. Dome-induced changes in patterns of sandstone distribution, depositional facies, and reef growth indicate that thickness variations in strata surrounding domes were caused by syndepositional processes rather than by tectonic distortion.
Salt domes in the East Texas basin exhibit three stages of growth: pillow, diapir, and post-diapir, each of which affected surrounding strata differently. Pillow growth caused broad uplift of strata over the crest of the pillows; the resulting topographic swell influenced depositional trends and was susceptible to erosion. Fluvial channel systems bypassed pillow crests and stacked vertically in primary peripheral sinks on the updip flanks of the pillows. Diapir growth was characterized by expanded sections of shelf and deltaic strata in secondary peripheral sinks around the diapirs. Lower Cretaceous reefs on topographic saddles between secondary peripheral sinks now host major oil production at Fairway field. Post-diapir crestal uplifts and peripheral subsidence affected smaller areas than did equivalent processes during pillow or diapir stages.
Documented facies variations over and around domes at different stages of growth enable prediction of subtle facies-controlled hydrocarbon traps. Facies-controlled traps are likely to be the only undiscovered ones remaining in mature petroliferous basins such as the East Texas basin.
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