From Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin (
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AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Cancun, Mexico, October 24–27, 2004

Neogene Shelf, Slope, and Basin-Floor Gas Plays, Laguna Madre-Tuxpan Continental Shelf, Eastern Mexico

William A. Ambrose, Tim F. Wawrzyniec, L. Frank Brown, Jr., Khaled Fouad, Shinichi Sakurai, David C. Jennette, Dallas B. Dunlap, Edgar H. Guevara, Mario Aranda Garcia, Ulises Hernández Romano, Ramón Cárdenas Hernández, Eduardo Macías Zamora, and Suhas C. Talukdar


Neogene shelf, slope-fan, and basin-floor-fan plays in the Laguna Madre-Tuxpan (LM-T) continental shelf reflect a variety of structural and stratigraphic controls, including gravity sliding and extension, strike-slip motion, salt evacuation, and lowstand canyon and fan systems associated with major uplift of carbonate and volcanic terrains. In a 16-month study of the eastern Mexico continental shelf, conducted jointly by the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) and PEMEX Exploración y Producción, more than 30 plays were defined and mapped over a 50,000-km2 area that links the Veracruz and Burgos Basins.
The south part of the LM-T area in the Veracruz Basin contains deep-seated basement faults that provided upward migration for hydrocarbons to potentially charge upper and middle Miocene canyon, slope-fan, and basin-floor-fan systems. In contrast, the Lankahuasa area north of the Veracruz Basin contains major, shallow-detachment listric faults associated with thick Pliocene shelf and inner-slope depocenters. Lower and middle Miocene plays on the Tuxpan Platform northwest of the Lankahuasa area contain thick successions of steeply dipping slope deposits consisting of narrow slope-channel and lobate slope-fan sandstones encased in siltstones and mudstones. Plays in the north end of the LM-T area in the Burgos Basin contain intensely deformed strata associated with diapirism, salt withdrawal, and salt welds. Plays in this area are mud-rich and internally complex, including debris-flow, slump, and canyon-fill deposits.