Guest post by David Middleton
From the U.S. Government Occasionally Does Something Useful Department:
A 1.4-Billion-Pixel Map of the Gulf of Mexico Seafloor
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management releases the highest-resolution bathymetry map of the region to date.
Such salt tectonics continue to sculpt the geologic strata and seafloor in the GOM like few other places on Earth. Because of this salt tectonism and a steady supply of sediment delivered to the basin by rivers, the GOM’s seafloor is a terrain continually in flux. Bathymetry is ripe with active faults and escarpments, slump blocks and slides, canyons and channels, sediment waves, pockmarks and mud volcanoes, and other natural oil and gas seeps.
During the Late Triassic through Middle Jurassic, the ancestral Gulf of Mexico basin (including East Texas and Gulf Coast basins) served as a great evaporating basin in which seawater from the Atlantic Ocean was concentrated.” Over 1,000 m of salt, gypsum and other evaporites were deposited during this period. The evaporites were then quickly buried by Upper Jurassic aeolian (wind-driven sediments, sand dunes) Norphlet and shallow marine Smackover carbonate formations. This was then overlain by thousands of feet of Cretaceous and Cenozoic carbonates, sandstones and shales.
Many of the world’s most prolific oil and gas basins are associated with salt tectonics (GEO ExPro).
The thick evaporite sequences of the Gulf of Mexico may have even been the proximal cause of the K-T extinction.
For anyone with an interest in the salt tectonics of the Gulf of Mexico, I recommend The Prize Beneath the Salt from Schlumberger, Gulf of Mexico and Salt’s Effects on Petroleum Systems from GeoExPro.