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Weinzapfel, Andrew C.1
(1) Consultant, Florissant, CO

ABSTRACT: An Overview of the Habitat, Distribution, and Classification of Worldwide Mud Diapir Provinces

A systematic global thematic review of mud diapirism was undertaken because of the association of hydrocarbon reserves with certain mobile mud belts. This study identified 66 basins in both extensional and compressional regimes where mud diapir belts are either known or strongly suspected. 
A study of mud diapirs is a study in diversity. Mobile mud belts can be extremely prolific or completely devoid of economic hydrocarbons, depending primarily on the presence or absence of mature source rock. An analysis of the scale of mud volcanoes vs. hydrocarbon reserves surprisingly shows little correlation between the two. The most favorable hydrocarbon provinces contain a source rock that is the diapir mother bed itself. Diapirs can originate within the biogenic zone, in areas of only 1.5 kilometers sedimentary fill, or at great depth, especially in polyhistory basins or along convergent margins. The latter can display spectacular hydrothermal mud volcanoes of 30 kilometers diameter, rising 2 kilometers above the sea floor.


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