From Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin (
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BEG Seminar, November 11, 2005

Gulf Basin Depositional Synthesis (GBDS) Project:
Plan, Products, and Results

W.E. Galloway, Institute for Geophysics


The GBDS industry consortium was initiated in 1995 with three primary objectives:

a) Use published and unpublished data to establish a genetic stratigraphic framework for the Cenozoic fill of the Gulf of Mexico sedimentary basin.

b) Create a transferable GIS stratigraphic database using ArcView (now ArcGIS) and including (1) well-log-derived information (basin margin), (2) seismic shotpoint-derived information (basin floor), (3) depositional and erosional features, (4) structural features, (5) interpreted depositional system framework, and (6) pertinent references.

c) Create a suite of preconstructed reference maps and cross sections showing distribution, thickness, general lithology, and interpreted paleogeography of regionally correlative deposodes.

The project is now it its 5th phase. Eighteen Cenozoic deposodes (genetic stratigraphic sequences) have been widely and consistently differentiated around the northern basin margin using regional transgressive and/or prominent paleontologic markers. Correlation and mapping of these deposodes provides a regional paleogeographic framework for reservoir prediction and play analysis. Twenty-six fluvial, deltaic, shore-zone, shelf, slope, and basinal depositional system types are differentiated on paleogeographic maps. The supporting quantitative lithofacies maps and paleogeographic syntheses together reveal evolving long-term sediment transport pathways, accumulation patterns, and the tectonostratigraphic interplay within this densely explored small ocean basin. Three such general results will be briefly discussed:

  1. Evolution of North American drainage basins and its impact on the changing fluvial supply axes and accumulation history along the northern Gulf margin (Galloway, 2005).
  2. Quantitative change in the importance of deltaic vs. shore-zone systems as sediment repositories during the transition from greenhouse to icehouse regimes (Galloway, 2002).
  3. History and rate of continental margin progradation and its relationship with evolving sediment supply, tectonic, and oceanographic regimes (Galloway, 2005, in press).


Galloway, W. E., 2005 (in press), Cenozoic evolution of the northern Gulf of Mexico continental margin: GCSSEPM Research Conference.

Galloway, W. E., 2005, Gulf of Mexico Basin depositional record of Cenozoic North American drainage basin evolution: International Association of Sedimentologists Special Publication 35, p. 409–423.

Galloway, W. E., 2002, Cenozoic evolution of sedimentation accumulation in deltaic and shore-zone depositional systems, northern Gulf of Mexico basin: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 18, p. 1031–1040.