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Lowrie, Allen1, Bradley M. Battista1 
(1) Consultant, Picayune, MS 
(2) University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

ABSTRACT: Review of Geologic Processes and Continental Margin Evolution

Ever more precise and deeper into the ocean and sub-surface exploration has increased understanding of the geology and the interrelating processes that create continental margins. How geologic processes operate individually and then interact are not systematically studied. The fundamental question of whether processes act individually and/or in concert locally, regionally, or margin-wide and act algebraically or synergistically is not known. While data quality and quantity are increasing, the time is appropriate to initiate such syntheses using the known geology of the well-explored northern Gulf of Mexico. 
A review of known geologic processes may provide heretofore unrealized process interactions; fundamental gaps in understanding margin evolution, gaps resulting from inadequate data or interpretation; and/or processes yet unidentified. Unresolved questions deal with structural strength within the margin; is the margin overall strong/stable or yielding/collapsing into the Gulf. What interrelations may provide the strengths or the weaknesses and their lateral extent? Processes that individually, collectively, or synergistically operate may yield an ultimate strength or weakness as they move minutely, locally, and regionally, forming a single tapestry of formation and deformation. The role of fluids, including hydrocarbons, be they gas, liquid, and/or solid and of whatever source, given their sheer abundance and ubiquity, needs to be re-examined. Using available interpretations as a source, and detailed defining of known processes and ranges of motion throughtout their operation can lead to fruitful avenues of thought and research.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.