A Closer Look at Salt, Faults, and Gas in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico with 2-D Multichannel Seismic Data
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The sedimentary wedge of the northern Gulf of Mexico is extensively deformed and faulted by salt tectonics. Industry 2-D multichannel seismic data covering a large area (33,800 km2) of the lower Texas continental slope [96 degrees 40'- 93 degrees 40'W; 27 degrees 10N - 26 degrees N] were examined to evaluate the interplay of salt, faults and gas. Seismic interpretation revealed the study area has two different styles of faulting and two different types of salt bodies that vary east to west. The eastern region of the study area has a thin sedimentary section and a massive, nearly continuous salt sheet characterized by minibasins and local salt highs. Faulting in this area appears to be the result of salt tectonism. The western region of the study area has a thick sedimentary wedge, and a few isolated salt diapirs. Long, linear faults are parallel to slope and imply some degree of gravitation sliding. The difference in faulting styles and salt bodies can be attributed to different depositional environments, different styles and amounts of sediment loading and different amounts of salt initially deposited. While there is a widespread occurrence of gas throughout the study area, little evidence of continuous bottom simulating reflectors (BSRs), a widely accepted geophysical indicator of gas hydrate, has been found. The gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ) was modeled to provide information on the thickness and variability of the stability zone, and provide a baseline in a search for BSRs. The dataset was analyzed for multiple seismic expressions of BSRs, however only a few small and isolated examples were found. Potential fluid escape structures were seen in the seismic data. Despite the great number of potential features found in the seismic data only seven active seeps were found in a seep study by I. R. MacDonald. Seeps were seen in far less abundance than the number of seeps found offshore Louisiana. This may imply a lack of source offshore Texas.
Nemazi, Leslie A. (2010). A Closer Look at Salt, Faults, and Gas in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico with 2-D Multichannel Seismic Data. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from