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ABSTRACT: Deepwater Site Characterization: the Preliminary Results of the Deep-Tow Survey of Pigmy Basin and Alaminos Canyon, Gulf of Mexico


The growth in exploration efforts targeting the continental slope of the Gulf of Mexico has fostered an awareness of the scarcity of information available on the geology and processes characteristic of the slope environment. The Offshore Technology Research Center's Deepwater Site Characterization project was conceived in response to this need. An integral part of the project is a series of high-resolution geophysical surveys of the project's three theme sites: Pigmy Basin, Alaminos Canyon, and Vaca Basin using the TAMU Deep-Tow system. To date, the Pigmy Basin and Alaminos Canyon surveys have been completed, while the third survey (Vaca Basin) is scheduled for spring, 1997.

TAMU Deep Tow system, a refurbished version of the EDO Deep Tow donated to Texas A&M by Shell Offshore Inc., includes a DYNACON traction winch system, the topside electronics, and an ocean-depth instrument package (a 3.5 or 7 kHz subbottom profiler, a 100 kHz side-scan sonar, a depth sensor, and a direction-locating pinger) housed in a 5-m, bottom-tracking tow vehicle. The high resolution records obtained in both surveys are outstanding in their clarity, resolution, and consistency. The records presented here are representative of the preliminary results of the surveys, and include examples of the seafloor and subbottom features characteristic of the two sites. in addition, the highly variable nature of the slope with respect to the types of processes and their degree of activity is clearly evident in a side-by-side comparison of the data from the two sites.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90941©1997 GCAGS 47th Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana