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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Special Volumes


K. R. McClay, 2004, Thrust tectonics and hydrocarbon systems: AAPG Memoir 82, p. 400-412.

Copyright copy2004. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

Structural Controls on Growth Stratigraphy in Contractional Fault-related Folds

John H. Shaw,1 Enrique Novoa,2 Christopher D. Connors3

1Dept. of Earth amp Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
2Departamento de Ciencia de La Tierra, Gerencia de Produccion y Exploracion, PDVSA-INTEVEP, Los Teques, Estado Miranda, Venezuela
3Dept. of Geology, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, U.S.A.; Present address: Texaco Exploration, Bellaire, Texas, U.S.A.


This research was supported by Texaco, Inc., and PDVSA, with data generously provided by Arco, Chevron, BP, Statoil, and Texaco. The authors thank John Suppe and Stephen Hook for helpful insights into growth folding and Kevin Bishop for assistance with processing of the seismic profile from California. Ken McClay and two anonymous reviewers provided helpful suggestions for improving the manuscript.


We describe local structural controls on deposition above contractional fault-related folds that yield patterns of stratigraphic onlaps, pinch-outs, and facies transitions that are diagnostic of folding mechanism. In folds that grow by kink-band migration, stratigraphic onlaps and pinch-outs that formed at emergent fold scarps are incorporated into fold limbs and aligned along growth axial surfaces. In contrast, the positions of these same features in structures that grow primarily by limb rotation are more variable and are controlled directly by sedimentation-to-uplift ratio. We present kinematic models and natural examples that integrate seismic reflection data and well control to describe these structural influences on growth stratigraphy. An understanding of this interplay between local deformation and deposition helps us infer the positions of subtle pinch-outs that may provide hydrocarbon traps and can yield a detailed history of structural development.

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