Kinematic and Mechanical Reconstruction of Walker Ridge Structures, Deepwater Gulf of Mexico



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Recent high-resolution seismic imaging has allowed detailed reconstruction of the relationship between fold development and crestal faulting of the Chinook and Cascade folds in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Using 3-D seismic and biostratigraphic data, we have found that (1) short wavelength (~2300m), small amplitude folds (~540m) within the upper Cretaceous and upper Jurassic stratigraphic sequences took place no later than the late Jurassic, (2) large wavelength and amplitude fold growth, starting in the early Cretaceous, was produced by salt withdrawal, and (3) periods of increased sedimentation, fold growth, and fault slip occurred during the middle Miocene and late Miocene. Although the dominant stage of long wavelength, large amplitude fold growth started around early Cretaceous, the development of the Cascade and Chinook structures was continuous, punctuated by episodes of accelerated growth during the middle Miocene at rates of 337 and 235 m/Ma in the Cascade and 203 and 230 m/Ma in the Chinook. A later event of accelerated growth occurred during the late Miocene at rates of 1038 m/Ma in the Cascade and 1189 m/Ma in the Chinook. Accompanying fold growth was sedimentation, which was highest at 1949 m/Ma in the Cascade and 2585 m/Ma in the Chinook. Although limb tilt rates varied through fold growth, the highest rates also occurred during the middle Miocene at 0.330 and 0.196 degree/Ma for the Cascade and Chinook, respectively with the development of crestal faults at maximum slip rates of 88 and 90 m/Ma.