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Abstract: Depositional Styles from Miocene Through Pleistocene in the North Central Gulf of Mexico: An Historical Reconstruction

Jesse L. Hunt Jr., Grant Burgess

During the past two years, Minerals Management Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, has classified the reservoir sands from the approximately 1,100 fields across the entire Northern Gulf of Mexico into groups of genetically related plays defined by production, chronostratigraphy, lithostratigraphy, and structure. This study was undertaken in part for the 1995 National Gas and Oil Assessment. Each field was assigned a structural code, and each producible sand was classified by depositional environment. Correlation of the composite type logs with biostratigraphic and seismic data established twelve chronozones from lower Miocene to upper Pleistocene. Sands within each chronozone were classified as transgressive, aggradational, progradational, or deep-sea fan facies. Pr ved reserves plays, hydrocarbon extents, as well as facies sand limits were mapped for each chronozone.

Dramatic changes in depositional styles from the Miocene through the Pliocene are observed in the north-central Gulf of Mexico as the ancestral Mississippi River delta moved both basinward and eastward across offshore Louisiana. The depocenter moved back to the west and significantly basinward during the Pleistocene.

Depositional patterns were strongly influenced by localized salt structure and major growth faulting. Salt ridges on the paleo-slope had a damming effect on deposition. When the ridges were breached, the focused sediment supply created areas of slope fan deposits.

The results of this study are useful hydrocarbon exploration and development tools.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90955©1995 GCAGS 45th Annual Meeting and Gulf Section SEPM, Baton Rouge, Louisiana