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Seismic and Depositional Facies of Paleocene-Eocene Wilcox Group Submarine Canyon Fills, Northwest Gulf Coast, U.S.A.

  • W. E. Galloway
  • W. F. Dingus
  • R. E. Paige
Part of the Frontiers in Sedimentary Geology book series (SEDIMENTARY)

Abstract

The late Paleocene Yoakum/Lavaca submarine canyon system exhibits morphologies and fill patterns typical of canyons cut in prograding continental margins. Initially, canyons were excavated largely by retrogressive slumping of unstable sediments of the flank of the Wilcox deltaic platform. Given sufficient time and extensive submergence of the depositional platform during regional transgressive events, canyon morphology evolved through combined submarine erosion and slumping.

Later stages of retrogressive slumping as well as initial delta progradation across the steep canyon walls initiated filling. Lower parts of canyon fills consist of onlapping tongues and lobes of slumped canyon head and wall sediment. Fill is dominantly mudstone; sandstone facies occur as irregular slump masses, discrete turbidite mounds, and narrow gully fills. The upper canyon fills display clinoforms, which variously dip along or across the canyon axis, reflecting infilling by progradation of subsequent delta lobes across the shelf and into the deep erosional depression created by the canyon. Hemipelagic drapes, visible as continuous reflections extending from canyon fill to adjacent shelf, indicate significant along-shelf dispersal of mud and contemporaneous deposition in both shelf and canyon settings. The internal depositional architecture of canyon fills is complicated by arcuate slumping along the canyon margins and by partial reexacavation and nesting of successive canyon fills.

Preserved canyons record a repetitive cycle of (1) large-scale continental margin failure followed by retrogressive and tributary slumping and canyon-mouth backfilling, (2) erosion by cross-shelf currents, density underflows, and internal waves, and (3) subsequent progradational infilling. Time required for a complete Wilcox canyon cut-and-fill cycle is estimated to range from tens of thousands to a few hundred thousand years.

Associated fan systems deposited at the base of the slope should display a repetitive depositional style that reflects the canyon cycle of excavation, sedimentary bypass, and filling.

Keywords

Continental Margin Shelf Edge Submarine Canyon Seismic Facies Depositional Facies 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. E. Galloway
  • W. F. Dingus
  • R. E. Paige

There are no affiliations available

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