The objectives of this study were to determine the general configuration of the salt surface beneath the Texas-Louisiana continental slope and to isopach the Mesozoic-Cenozoic sedimentary section lying upon it.
The structure contour map discloses that the entire slope province between the shelf edge and Sigsbee Escarpment is underlain by salt structures which interconnect at relatively shallow subbottom depths. Salt structures on the slope south of Louisiana and eastern Texas can be grouped according to structural relief and size which define morphological belts of decreasing deformational maturity in a downslope direction. Off northern Mexico and southernmost Texas, salt structures are anticlinal and their trends suggest a structural relationship with the folds of the Mexican Ridge province to the south. Structural trends in the two slope areas meet in the corner of the northwestern gulf where salt structure may have been influenced by a seaward extension of the San Marcos Arch, or an abrupt change in subsalt structural topography.
Sediment thickness above the top of salt on the slope averages about 1,400 m (4,620 ft) which is a smaller average than expected from previous estimates. In some synclinal basins between salt structures, sediments may be as thick as 4,000-5,000 m (12,000-17,000 ft). On the average, sedimentary deposits in basins on the upper slope are thicker than on the lower slope. From the isopach map of sediments above salt it is estimated that the U.S. continental slope off Texas and Louisiana contains a sedimentary volume of about 170,000 km3 (41,000 mi3). The bulk of this volume is situated in synclinal basins between domes and principally in those beneath the upper and middle slope regions.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Salt structure and sediment thickness, Texas-Louisiana continental slope, northwestern Gulf of Mexico