Recursive Failure Of The Gulf Of Mexico Continental Slope: Timing And Causes

  • R. Urgeles
  • Jacques Locat
  • B. Dugan
Part of the Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research book series (NTHR, volume 27)

Seismic and multibeam data have shown the occurrence of Plesitocene large-scale Mass Transport Deposits (MTDs) and Holocene failure events in Ursa Basin at ~1000 m depth in the eastern levee of the Mississippi Canyon, northern Gulf of Mexico. During IODP Expedition 308 Sites U1322 and U1324 were drilled adjacent to the Recent failures and through several MTDs of Holocene and Pleistocene age. A complete suite of logging, sedimentological and geotechnical data were acquired to reveal the factors controlling initiation of past sediment failures and to characterize the hazard potential of future slope instabilities. Fluid overpressure estimated from a variety of direct and indirect methods indicates that the vertical effective stress is 50 to 70 % lower than if hydrostatic conditions existed. Overpressure in Ursa Basin most likely results from deposition of fine-grained sediments with rates at least 1 m ky-1 with peaks up to 25 m ky-1. The thickest and most widespread MTDs occur in periods of highest sedimentation rate. Considering the very low seismicity experienced by the margin it is most probable that the changes in sedimentation rate might be the primary driving force of slope failure. At Sites U1322 and U1324 a total of 14 MTDs were identified, which leads to a frequency of emplacement of 1 MTD/4.5 ka. Considering only the thickest MTDs the recurrence interval reduces to 1 MTD/10 ka.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bryant WR, Bryant JR, Feeley MH and Simmons GR, 1990. Physiographic and bathymetric characteristics of the continental slope, northwest Gulf of Mexico. Geo-Marine Letters 10:182–as199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dugan B, Flemings PB, Urgeles, R, Sawyer DE, Iturrino GJ, Moore JC and Schneider J, 2007. Physical Properties of Mass Transport Complexes in the Ursa Region, Northern Gulf of Mexico, IODP Expedition 308, Determined From Log, Core, and Seismic Data. Proceedings of the 2007 Offshore Technology Conference, paper OTC 18704, 8pp.Google Scholar
  3. Eaton LF, 1999. Drilling through deepwater shallow water flow zones at Ursa. Proc—SPE/IADC Middle East Drill Conf, 153-164.Google Scholar
  4. Expedition 308 Scientists, 2005. Gulf of Mexico hydrogeology—overpressure and fluid flow processes in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico: slope stability, seeps, and shallow-water flow. IODP Prel Rept, 308. doi:10.2204/iodp.pr.308.2005.Google Scholar
  5. Feng T-W, 2001. A linear log d-log w model for the determination of consistency limits of soils. Canandian Geotechcal Journal 38:1335–as1342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Flemings PB, Behrmann JH, John CM and Expedition 308 Scientists, 2006. Proc IODP, 308: College Station TX (IODP Management International, Inc). doi:10.2204/iodp.proc.308.2006.Google Scholar
  7. Frohlich C, 1982. Seismicity of the central Gulf of Mexico. Geology 10:103–as106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Mahaffie MJ, 1994. Reservoir classification for turbidite intervals at the Mars discovery, Mississippi Canyon Block 807, Gulf of Mexico. In Bouma AH, Perkins BG (Eds), Submarine Fans and Turbidite Systems: Proc GCSSEPM 15th Annu Res Conf, 233-244.Google Scholar
  9. McAdoo BG, Pratson LF and Orange DL, 2000. Submarine landslide geomorphology, US continental slope. Marine Geology 169:103–as136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. McClelland, B, 1967. Progress of consolidaiotn in delta and pro-delta clays of the Mississippi River. In: Marine Geotechnique, A.F. Richards, Ed., U.I.P., pp. 22-40.Google Scholar
  11. Ostermeier RM, Pelletier JH, Winker CD, Nicholson JW, Rambow FH and Cowan KM, 2000. Dealing with shallow-water flow in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Proc Offshore Tech Conf, 32(1):75–as86.Google Scholar
  12. Ostermeier RM, Pelletier JH, Winker CD and Nicholson JW, 2001. Trends in shallow sediment pore pressures. Proc—SPE/IADC Drill Conf, 1-11.Google Scholar
  13. Pelletier JH, Ostermeier RM, Winker CD, Nicholson JW and Rambow FH, 1999. Shallow water flow sands in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico: some recent Shell experience (International Forum on Shallow Water Flows Conference, League City, TX, 6-9 Oct, 1999).Google Scholar
  14. Pratson LF and Ryan WBF, 1994. Pliocene to Recent infilling and subsidence of intraslope basins offshore Louisiana. AAPG Bulletin 78:1483–as1506.Google Scholar
  15. Pulham AJ, 1993. Variations in slope deposition, Pliocene-Pleistocene, offshore Louisiana, northeast Gulf of Mexico. In Posamentier H, Weimer P (Eds.), Siliclastic Sequence Stratigraphy: Recent Developments and Applications. AAPG Mem, 58:199-233.Google Scholar
  16. Sawyer DE, Flemings PB, Shipp C and Winker C, 2007. Seismic Geomorphology, Lithology, and Evolution of the Late Pleistocene Mars-Ursa Turbidite Region, Mississippi Canyon Area, Northern Gulf of Mexico. AAPG Bulletin, 91:215–as234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Skempton AW. 1957. Discussion: the planning and design of the new Hong Kong airport. Proceedings Institute of Civil Engineers, vol. 7, pp 305–as307.Google Scholar
  18. Sultan N, Gaudin M, Berne S, Canals M, Urgeles R and Lafuerza S, 2007. Analysis of slope failures in submarine canyon heads: An example from the Gulf of Lions, Journal of Geophysical Research, 112: in press, doi:10.1029/2005JF000408.Google Scholar
  19. Winker CD and Booth JR, 2000. Sedimentary dynamics of the salt-dominated continental slope, Gulf of Mexico: integration of observations from the seafloor, near-surface, and deep subsurface. Deep-Water Reservoirs of the World: Proc GCSSEPM 20th Annu Res Conf, 1059-1086.Google Scholar
  20. Worrall DM and Snelson S, 1989. Evolution of the northern Gulf of Mexico, with emphasis on Cenozoic growth faulting and the role of salt. In Bally AW, Paler AR (Eds), The Geology of North America—An Overview (Vol. A): Boulder, CO (Geol Soc Am), 97-137.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Urgeles
    • 1
  • Jacques Locat
    • 2
  • B. Dugan
    • 3
  1. 1.Dept. of Stratigraphy, Paleontology and Marine GeosciencesUniversity of BarcelonaCataloniaSpain
  2. 2.Dept of Geology and Geological EngineeringUniversite LavalQuebecCanada
  3. 3.Dept. of Earth SciencesRice UniversityHoustonUSA

Personalised recommendations