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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 69 (1985)

Issue: 2. (February)

First Page: 268

Last Page: 268

Title: Relationship of Structural Development and Cenozoic Sedimentation, Northern Gulf of Mexico: ABSTRACT

Author(s): C. C. Humphris, Jr.

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Development of structure in the northern Gulf of Mexico, mainly listric faulting and salt features, is directly related to Cenozoic sedimentation. Essentially all oil and gas production in this region occurs in structural features resulting from faulting and/or salt movement.

A thick section of continental shallow-water sediments rimming the entire Gulf of Mexico was deposited during overall Gulf subsidence in Mesozoic time. Very little sedimentation took place in the central Gulf, so that, at the close of the Mesozoic the central Gulf probably was of abyssal depths. Cenozoic sedimentation surpassed the rate of subsidence causing sediments to prograde across the Mesozoic shelf margin, with greatest deposition occurring gulfward of this margin. These depocenters or areas of thickest sedimentation prograded gulfward throughout time (in response to sediment supply) and migrated northeastward from south Texas to south Louisiana.

Listric or growth faults that formed contemporaneously with deposition are a common structural feature developed during Cenozoic sedimentation. These features are apparently caused by differential loading of higher density sandstones on prodelta shales near the shelf margin. In those areas underlain by thicker salt, such as the Miocene and younger depocenters, there is greater involvement of salt in growth-fault development.

Salt features, the other major type of producing structure, are developed by salt movement as a direct response to Cenozoic sediment loading. Initiation of salt movement is believed to be due to differential loading of prograding sediments. Further salt movement and structural development are completely dependent on continued sedimentation.

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