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Jurassic Platform Development, Northwestern Gulf of Mexico

Clyde H. Moore, Jr.

Triassic and Early Jurassic rifting set the stage for the subsequent development of carbonate platforms in the Late Jurassic. These platforms formed along the interior margins of salt basins separated from the main ancestral Gulf of Mexico by a series of positive features. A major sea level rise, after deposition of the Louann Salt (late Callovian), drowned the interior salt basins around the margins of the Gulf of Mexico, leading to an anoxic event. Organic-rich sediments of the lower Smackover were deposited as a basin-fill sequence, forming one of the major hydrocarbon source rocks of the region.

As sea level rise slowed in the late Oxfordian, carbonate production began to catch up with sea level rise along the basin margins, leading to the initial development of a rimmed carbonate platform. The platform margin was marked by high-energy ooid grainstones, while crustacean pellet muds were deposited in the platform interior.

A high-energy ooid-dominated platform (upper Smackover) developed in the late Oxfordian when sea level reached a standstill. During the subsequent Kimmeridgian sea level rise, a second rimmed carbonate platform, the Haynesville, was developed. During the initial rise, grainstones were deposited on the platform margin, while the interior was dominated by evaporites (Buckner) and siliciclastics. As sea level slowed and reached a standstill, the platform margin facies extended shoreward (Gilmer) and a high-energy platform, analogous to the upper Smackover, was formed.

The Smackover and Haynesville platforms of the northwestern Gulf show a parallel evolution in response to cyclic changes in Upper Jurassic sea level.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91038©1987 AAPG Annual Convention, Los Angeles, California, June 7-10, 1987.