Sedimentary Record of Cretaceous and Teritiary Salt Movement, East Texas Basin: Times, Rates and Volumes of Salt Flow Implications to Nuclear-Waste Isolation and Petroleum Exploration

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Seni, Steven J.
Jackson, M. P. A.

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Post-Aptian strata (younger than 112 Ma) in the East Texas Basin were strongly influenced by halokinesis and record the evolution of associated salt structures. Comparisons with model diapirs and dome-induced changes in patterns of sandstone distribution, depositional facies, and reef growth indicate that thickness variations in strata surrounding domes were caused by syndepositional processes rather than by tectonic distortion. Salt domes in the East Texas Basin exhibit three stages of growth: pillow, diapir, and post-diapir. Each stage affected surrounding strata differently. Pillow growth caused broad uplifting of strata over the crest of the pillows. The resulting topographic swells influenced depositional trends and were susceptible to erosion. Fluvial-channel systems bypassed pillow crests and stacked vertically in primary peripheral sinks on the updip flanks of the pillows. Diapir growth was characterized by expanded sections of shelf and deltaic strata in secondary peripheral sinks around the diapirs. Lower Cretaceous (Aptian) reefs on topographic saddles between secondary peripheral sinks now host major oil production at Fairway Field. Post diapir crestal uplifting and peripheral subsidence affected smaller areas than did equivalent processes that occurred during pillow or diapir stages. Pre-Aptian domes grew in three areas around the margin of the diapir province, apparently in pre-Aptian depocenters. Maximum dome growth along the basin axis coincided with maximum regional sedimentation there during the mid-Cretaceous (Aptian, Albian, and Cenomanian stages). In the Late Cretaceous, the sites of maximum diapirism migrated to the margin of the diapir province. Diapirism began after pillows were erosionally breached, which led to salt extrusion and formation of peripheral sinks.


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