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Louisiana Continental Slope: Geologic and Seismic Stratigraphic Framework

Ray K. Pulak, David W. Cooke

The continental slope of Louisiana from Green Canyon to Mississippi Canyon was studied by interpreting seismic CDP data and wells in the area. The slope is characterized by blocked canyon intraslope basins of various dimensions with maximum thickness of sediments in excess of 21,000 ft, rotational slump blocks and large-scale submarine slides. In the subsurface, the outer shelf and upper slope show contrasting character with that of the lower slope, especially below the Sigsbee Scarp. The seismic stratigraphic units established for the deep sea area can be recognized in their entirety up to a water depth of 6,000 to 5,500 ft. In shallower water salt tectonics obliterates the sequence. Fragmental records of the sequence, especially the top of Challenger boundary, have been recognized in as shallow as 2,000 to 3,000 ft of water. The Tertiary units often downlap and onlap directly on the Challenger unit, indicating the progradational nature of the clastic slope. The Sigsbee unit has been traced through the entire slope area and can be divided into five subunits of unique acoustical characteristics.

The slope constantly regrades in response to Neogene sea level fluctuations. Loading of the shelf by deltaic deposition contributes to salt sill formation and flowage of salt over deep-water sediments on the slope during high sea level. Regressive sea is represented by slope failure, formation of large-scale submarine slides, filling of blocked canyon intraslope basins which show similar seismic facies to that of Orca and Pigmy basins as reported from DSDP studies, and sporadic uplifting of salt diapirs and massifs and the formation of linear transverse salt ridges.

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