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Structural Domain Mapping in the Mexican Perdido Fold Belt Trend, Deep Water Gulf of Mexico: Description and Characterization


The Perdido fold belt trend has been fairly well studied and described in the US deep water Gulf of Mexico; however its southern extension into Mexico is not as well illustrated in the literature. The reform of the Mexican energy sector has provided the international oil and gas industry with access to numerous 2D and 3D seismic surveys acquired by PEMEX across the north-western portion of the Mexican Gulf of Mexico. The available seismic dataset enabled us to identify, map and describe different structural domains in the Mexican Perdido trend. Although the entire trend is a down-dip contraction response of a regional gravity spreading system on the continental shelf related to the tectonic subduction underneath the North American plate, the Perdido trend in Mexico exhibits several domains that resulted from accommodating the structural deformation along different detachment levels. It clearly demonstrates the change in structure style and complexity from north to south along the margin and shows a clear linkage between the structure deformation and stratigraphy. Multiple phases of deformations have been observed. The oldest phase started in the Eocene while the youngest phase is Pliocene- Pleistocene age. The Mexican Perdido area can be subdivided based on the involvement of the deep salt unit in the deformation into three main domains, (1) thick-salt involved structures, (2) thin-salt involved structures and (3) no-salt involved structures. The thick-salt involved structures can be further subdivided into simple compressional buckle folds structures and complex highly deformed folds and thrust faults structures. Each domain has its own characteristics and is being primarily controlled by the deep salt distribution and the proximity to the continental margin. Mapping the structural domain is essential in understanding the petroleum systems and has an implication on the prospectivity in the Mexican Perdido trend.