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Regional Depositional History of the Miocene-Pleistocene Louisiana Slope, Green Canyon-Mississippi Canyon
David L. Risch, Abu N. Chowdhury, Andrew E. Hannan
A regional sequence stratigraphic analysis was recently completed for the Tertiary slope sediments in Green Canyon, Ewing Bank, and Mississippi Canyon to provide a chronostratigraphic framework for basin reconstructions and to predict lithofacies distributions of reservoir and seal rocks. Sixteen third-order sequences of lowstand deepwater deposits were interpreted for the Middle Miocene-Pleistocene section. Thirty regional lithofacies maps were made of predominantly lowstand deposits showing the distribution of shale and sand-prone sediments, slumps, channel/levee systems, and fan lobes based on distinctive seismic reflection and well log patterns. These maps were combined with isochrons of selected sequences to identify depositional fairways, depocenters, and paleosalt positions that constantly changed through time. Depositional trends were principally north-south but were also observed to be east-west as salt modified the gradient on the gently dipping slope. In some cases, the structural and stratigraphic trends could be projected under allochthonous tabular salt. Miocene channel and fan lobe sands were concentrated on the middle-lower paleoslope across the study area. The sedimentation rate doubled to 2.3 m/1,000 yr in the early Middle Pliocene, which caused large-scale salt movements and trapped sand-prone turbidites along the upper to middle slope. A four-fold decrease in sediment influx during the Late Pliocene-Early Pleistocene produced a stacked condensed section of four sequences over the eastern Louisiana slope. A return to rapid sedimentation (up to 6.9 m/1,000 yr) during the Late Pleistocene reactivated salt movements and depocenters in the Green Canyon, Ewing Bank, and Mississippi Trough areas.
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