The Keathley Canyon sites drilled in 2005 by the Chevron Joint Industry Project are located along the southeastern edge of an intraslope minibasin (Casey basin) in the northern Gulf of Mexico at 1335 m water depth. Around the drill sites, a grid of 2D high-resolution multichannel seismic data designed to image depths down to at least 1000 m sub-bottom reveals 7 unconformities and disconformities that, with the seafloor, bound 7 identifiable seismic stratigraphic units. A major disconformity in the middle of the units stands out for its angular baselapping geometry. From these data, three episodes of sedimentary deposition and deformation are inferred. The oldest episode consists of fine-grained muds deposited during a period of relative stability in the basin (units e, f, and g). Both the BSR and inferred gas hydrate occur within these older units. The gas hydrate occurs in near-vertical fractures. A second episode (units c and d) involved large vertical displacements associated with infilling and ponding of sediment. This second interval corresponds to deposition of intercalated fine and coarse-grained material that was recovered in the drill hole that penetrated the thin edges of the regionally much thicker units. The final episode of deposition (units a and b) occurred during more subdued vertical motions. Hemipelagic drape (unit a) characterizes the modern seafloor. The present-day Casey basin is mostly filled. Its sill is part of a subsiding graben structure that is only 10-20 m shallower than the deepest point in the basin, indicating that gravity-driven transport would mostly bypass the basin. Contemporary faulting along the basin margins has selectively reactivated an older group of faults. The intercalated sand and mud deposits of units c and d are tentatively correlated with Late Pleistocene deposition derived from the western shelf-edge delta/depocenter of the Mississippi River, which was probably most active from 320 ka to 70 ka [Winker, C.D., Booth, J., 2000. Sedimentary dynamics of the salt-dominated continental slope, Gulf of Mexico: integration of observations from the seafloor, near-surface, and deep subsurface. In: Proceedings of the GCSSEPM Foundation 20th Annual Research Conference, Deep-water Reservoirs of the World, pp. 1059-1086]. The presence of sand within the gas hydrate stability zone (in units c and d) is not sufficient to concentrate gas hydrate even though dispersed gas hydrate occurs deeper in the fractured mud/clay-rich sections of units e and f.
Additional publication details
Geologic framework of the 2005 Keathley Canyon gas hydrate research well, northern Gulf of Mexico