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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

GCAGS Transactions


Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions
Vol. 50 (2000), Pages 557-565

Discovery of Ring Faults Associated with Salt Withdrawal Basins of Early Cretaceous Age in the East Texas Basin

Steven J. Maione


The Jurassic Louann salt in the East Texas Basin has played a dominant role in influencing the structural and depositional history of the basin, particularly during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Salt tectonics is closely associated with sandstone distribution, depositional facies, and reef growth, and consequently, with petroleum traps in the basin. Salt withdrawal basins, developed during the Early Cretaceous in response to salt movement and dissolution processes, are characterized by the presence of an expanded section of Lower Cretaceous marine and deltaic sedimentary rocks. Recognition of fault sets associated with the evolution of these salt-withdrawal basins has gone undetected until the recent Coherence CubeTM processing of a non-proprietary 3-D seismic survey conducted by Schlumberger in the La Rue dome - Fairway Field area, Henderson County, Texas.

Images from Coherence Cube processing aptly exhibit extraordinary sets of concentric ring faults that comprise the periphery of two salt withdrawal basins. The Fairway oil field is located at the junction of these two sets of ring faults. The structural style of these high-angle ring faults creates a multitude of possible fault traps in a previously unattractive structural setting. Early Cretaceous age of the ring faults establishes that these faults are a significant element in evaluating petroleum migration patterns and traps in the basin. The discovery of Early Cretaceous ring faults in the East Texas Basin by Coherence Cube processing brings new perspectives to development and exploration drilling in this mature petroleum province.

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