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Origin and Significance of Retrograde Failed Shelf Margins; Tertiary Northern Gulf Coast Basin
The unusually high rates of sedimentation and subsidence in the Gulf Coast Basin are occasionally overwhelmed by large catastrophic collapse of the shelf margin that relocates the shelf margin landward behind the headwall of a strike-parallel slump scar. Unique reservoir and trapping opportunities are created by these genetically related processes: instantaneous (relatively speaking) creation of the collapse, emplacement of slump blocks into the collapse, possible uplift of the collapse scar headwall due to isostatic rebound, and transport of sediment gravity flows into and across the collapse scar.
A review of the distribution of documented retrograde failed shelf margins suggests that many more remain to be discovered in the subsurface of the Gulf Coast Basin. It is recommended that careful geological modeling be combined with a regional perspective and 3-D seismic in order to discover new exploration opportunities in this hyper-mature basin.
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