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Mass Transport Deposits

MTD in the offshore Gulf of Mexico

Despite the Gulf of Mexico being one the most explored basins worldwide, the near-seabed and shallow subsurface of deep and ultra-deepwater (> 1000m) are still poorly known. Only in the last 15 years has the extensive use of AUV-borne mapping systems started to depict surficial morphology and shallow subsurface geology with adequate details and resolution. The main result is that these areas are active and dynamic. Particularly interesting in the Gulf of Mexico is to understand the genesis and architecture of Mass Transport Deposit (MTDs).

The internal structures and extents of the MTDs have been characterized in several areas of the Gulf of Mexico using hydrocarbon exploration 3D seismic data. However, this data resolution provides a good understanding only of the large MTDs and of the deformation history up to the base of the Pleistocene. Therefore, the detailed characterization of smaller-scale deposits emplaced during the most recent time interval is missing. Using an analogy with classic sequence stratigraphy, we have a wealth of information about the low order structures but not about the high order systems