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Seismic architecture of a Lower Cretaceous platform-to-slope system, Santa Agueda and Poza Rica fields, Mexico
Xavier Janson, Charles Kerans, Robert Loucks, M. Alfredo Marhx, Carlos Reyes, and Francisco Murguia

AUTHORS Xavier Janson  Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin, University Station Box X, Austin, Texas 78713-8924; xavier.janson@beg.utexas.edu Xavier Janson received his Ph.D. from the University of Miami in 2002, where he was a student in the Comparative Sedimentology Laboratory. He received a D.E.A. degree (equivalent to an M.Sc. degree) from the Institut Franais du Ptrole. He joined the Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory at the Bureau of Economic Geology of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin in 2002, where his current research involves building 3-D geocellular models and 3-D synthetic seismic models from outcrop study to help reservoir characterization and seismic interpretation. Charles Kerans  Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin University Station C1100 Austin, Texas 78712-0254 Charlie Kerans is currently the Goldhammer Chair of Carbonate Geology at the Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin. Up until 2005, he was a senior research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas, where he had worked since 1985. His areas of focus are in carbonate sequence stratigraphy and reservoir characterization, with an emphasis on integrating outcrop analog information for improved understanding of the subsurface. Kerans received his Ph.D. from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, in 1982, where he studied basin analysis and the origin of Precambrian carbonates. Kerans held a Western Australian Mining and Petroleum Research Institute postdoctoral fellowship between 1982 and 1985, studying Devonian reef complexes of the Canning Basin under Philip Playford of the Western Australian Geological Survey. In 1985, Kerans took a position at the Bureau of Economic Geology, where he initiated the Carbonate Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory at the Bureau in 1988 and has codirected this research effort with Jerry Lucia of the Bureau up to the present. Kerans has been both a domestic and international AAPG distinguished lecturer. He also won the Pratt

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ABSTRACT Two three-dimensional seismic data sets over the Albian western Golden Lane margin and time-equivalent basinal deposits of Poza Rica field allowed us to investigate the linked architecture of a steep-sided carbonate platform (El Abra Formation) and a thick accumulation of redeposited carbonate sediment at the toe of the slope and in the basinal area (Tamabra Formation). Regional seismic cross sections show that the most aggrading Albian platform has an eroded platform top, a scalloped margin, and a channelized slope that are equivalent to a 20-km (12.4-mi)-wide, westward-thinning, thick toe-of-slope apron made of chaotic, contorted, mounded, moderate- to highamplitude reflections. Detailed reflection geometries in the Albian toe-of-slope and basinal deposits consist of chaotic to short, discontinuous, low-amplitude reflection at the toe of the slope of the Golden Lane platform, laterally changing to a discontinuous mounded, shingling reflection, which ultimately turns into high-amplitude parallel reflections. We interpret this lateral change to reflect the seismic signature of the change from the block- and debris-flowdominated toe-of-slope area, to debris-flow and concentrated density flow deposits in the basin that ultimately grade laterally into pelagic deposits. On a flattened seismic slice, mounded reflections correspond to lobate to fan-shaped seismic events several kilometers wide that are interpreted as a carbonate basin-floor fan. Comparison between core and seismic data shows a dominance of debris flows in the lower two Albian sequences (Albian 1 and Albian 2) that grade vertically into more lobate concentrated density flows

Copyright 2011. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved. Manuscript received July 6, 2009; provisional acceptance October 29, 2009; revised manuscript received March 17, 2010; final acceptance June 30, 2010. DOI:10.1306/06301009107

AAPG Bulletin, v. 95, no. 1 (January 2011), pp. 105 146

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Award from AAPG for best article in the AAPG Bulletin in 1994 (first author) and in 2005 (second author). Robert Loucks  Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin, University Station Box X, Austin, Texas 78713-8924 Robert G. Loucks is a senior research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology. He received his B.A. degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1967 and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1976. His general research interests include carbonate and siliciclastic sequence stratigraphy, depositional systems, diagenesis, and reservoir characterization. M. Alfredo Marhx  Pemex Exploracion y Produccion, Poza Rica, Mexico Alfredo Marhx-Rojano, received his M.I. degree from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) in 2010, where he studied energetic subsurface resources; he received his bachelors from National Polytechnic Institute in 1981, with an emphasis on surface geological studies from Santa Catarina S.L.P. Mexico. He joined Petrleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) in 1983. His professional development includes surface and subsurface geology, sedimentology and stratigraphic studies, and reservoir development studies. Carlos Reyes  Pemex Exploracion y Produccion, Poza Rica, Mexico Carlos A. Reyes Lpez studied his M.I. degree from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) between 1986 and 1989, where he was a student of physics of reservoirs; received his bachelors from UNAM in 1982, with the Air and Foam Drilling. He joined Petrleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) in 1983. His professional development includes surface and subsurface reservoir engineering studies, and he has been team leader several times in onshore and offshore projects. Francisco Murguia  Pemex Exploracion y Produccion, Poza Rica, Mexico Francisco Murguia is a seismic interpreter and is currently in charge of the representation of information technologies in the Poza RicaAltamira Asset of PEMEX Exploration and Production. He is certified in Landmark interactive interpretation systems, with great experience in the use of Internet and intranet technologies for access of data in the database, and the application for the 106

and turbidites in the upper two Albian sequences (Albian 3 and Albian 4). Seismic data used in this study, combined with core observations, do not support the interpretation of the Albian Tamabra Formation being of shallow-water origin. Seismic features identified as basin-floor fan, channel, and debris-flow deposits have a shape and size that are similar to those of other redeposited basinal carbonate deposits elsewhere. The seismic architecture shows that the Poza Rica field is a typical example of thick accumulation of grainy porous carbonate deposits in a basinal setting. This example shows the potential of a large hydrocarbon accumulation in a tectonically modified stratigraphic trap around shallow-water carbonate platforms.

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INTRODUCTION The eastern Golden Lane platform in Central Mexico and its associated thick basinal debris apron have been identified since its early oil discovery in the 1930s (Barnetche and Illing, 1956; Viniegra and Castillo-Tejero, 1970; Coogan et al., 1972; Enos, 1977; Wilson, 1990; McFarlan and Menes, 1991; Goldhammer, 1999). Poza Rica field, which produces from the Albian Tamabra Formation (Salas, 1949), is considered a classic example of a thick accumulation of redeposited carbonate sediment adjacent to a high-relief shallow-water carbonate platform. Because of the Poza Rica oil field, three-dimensional (3-D) and 2-D seismic well logs and core are available for detailed study of the architecture of the linked platform, slope, and basinal depositional environment. Because little oil or gas production is present outside the Albian of Mexico or the Permian of west Texas from redeposited deep-water carbonate deposits, they have received lesser attention than their siliciclastic counterparts. Combining 3-D seismic data over the Golden Lane platform and time-equivalent basinal deposits of Poza Rica field, as well as integrating well and core data, has allowed us to analyze the seismic architecture of a shallow-water carbonate-platform top, the platform margin, and the associated steep bypass slope, along with the time-equivalent toe-of-slope basinal apron of redeposited carbonate. The 3-D seismic data reveal not only the stratigraphic architecture of various redeposited sedimentary bodies, but also their relative positions along the depositional profile, their dimensions, and their morphology. Following a brief regional geologic introduction, as well as a short description of the data and methods used in this study, this article discusses, first, the seismic architecture of a platform, slope, and basin observed in a composite regional seismic profile.

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Second, the seismic architecture and morphology of the platform top and slope will be described on the basis of a 3-D seismic data set over the Santa Agueda field on the Golden Lane platform. Finally, using a second 3-D data set over the Poza Rica field, we will investigate the seismic expression of redeposited carbonate in the toe-of-slope and basinal area using detailed reflection geometries, isochore maps, and seismic attribute slices, as well as seismic-section and well-log and core-cross-section comparison.

5 4 improvement of handling of technical information in geophysics for the Poza Rica and Chi3 contepec groups within PEMEX. He has also been
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a teacher at University Veracruzana since 1986.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This study is part of an integrated reservoir characterization collaborative project between the Bureau of Economic Geology and Pemex Exploration Production. We thank the directors of Pemex Exploration and Production for allowing us to publish this study. We thank our numerous colleagues at the Bureau of Economic Geology and at Pemex, who have participated in discussions on these redeposited carbonate sediments. The manuscript benefited from countless discussions with Ted Playton about carbonate slope. We gratefully acknowledge the Landmark Graphics University Grant Program for providing interpretation software. Dallas Dunlaps help was invaluable in building the Landmark projects. Lana Dieterich edited and vastly improved the language of the manuscript. Careful and insightful review by Gregor Eberli, Mike Grammer, Jereon Kenter, and Marcello Minzoni made the manuscript more pertinent and focused. The Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory provided funds to cover the color figure expenses. Publication is authorized by the Director, Bureau of Economic Geology. The AAPG Editor thanks the following reviewers for their work on this paper: Gregor P. Eberli, Michael Grammer, Jeroen Kenter, and Marcello Minzoni.

REGIONAL SETTING The Santa AguedaPoza Rica platform-to-basin depositional system is located in the southwestern part of the larger Cretaceous Golden Lane platform in eastern Mexico. The Golden Lane platform is one of several isolated Cretaceous carbonate platforms that developed on a series of horst blocks in the western Gulf of Mexico (GOM) during the Albian (Barnetche and Illing, 1956; Viniegra and Castillo-Tejero, 1970; Coogan et al., 1972; Enos, 1977; Wilson, 1990; McFarlan and Menes, 1991; Goldhammer, 1999). During the Early Cretaceous, the Golden Lane platform was an ellipsoid-shaped rimmed carbonate platform (Figure 1) approximately 150 km (93 mi) wide along the long axis in a south-southeast orientation and 70 km (43 mi) wide along the short axis (Viniegra and Castillo-Tejero, 1970; Coogan et al., 1972). Santa Agueda field is located on the southwest-facing margin of the Golden Lane platform, whereas Poza Rica field is located on the adjacent toe of slope and basin floor, approximately 6 km (4 mi) basinward of the margin (Viniegra and Castillo-Tejero, 1970; Enos, 1977). The Golden Lane platform developed on a horst block formed during Jurassic rifting, which separated the narrow Chicontepec Misantla Basin to the west from the GOM to the east (Figures 1, 2). It is underlain by a thick synrift and postrift Jurassic interval. The base of the Lower Cretaceous consists of the widespread basinal carbonate of the lower Tamaulipas Formation, overlain by the argillaceous shale of the Otates Formation that corresponds to the Aptian La Pena and Pearsall formations elsewhere in the GOM (Enos, 1977). The upper Aptian to Albian upper Tamaulipas, a diachronous formation (Enos, 1977) that corresponds to retrograding outer-ramp deposits at the base, is the basinal equivalent of the shallow-water carbonate facies of the El Abra Formation and their slope and toe-of-slope debris of the Tamabra Formation during the late Aptian to Albian. By the end of the Early Cretaceous, the isolated Golden Lane

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Figure 1. (A) Regional paleogeographic map showing the location of the Lower Cretaceous platforms and basins based on Wilson and Ward (1993), Lehmann et al. (1998), and Kerans (2002). The dark-gray northwest to southeast band indicates the position of the Sierra Madre Orientale. The red rectangle indicates the location of the map shown in panel B. (B) Location of Poza Rica field on the east coast of Mexico (Galicia (2000). (C) Regional schematic cross section of Golden Lane platform. Modified from Coogan et al. (1972) and Chen et al. (2001). Chen et al. (2001) and Galicia (2000) figures are republished with permission from the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies. 108 Seismic Architecture, Santa Agueda and Poza Rica Fields, Mexico

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Figure 2. Stratigraphic column and comparison between age-equivalent Lower Cretaceous formations in the Golden Lane, northeast Mexico, and Texas areas. The section to the left is from Enos (1977). The standard chronostratigraphy is from Gradstein et al., 1994). The lithostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy nomenclature for northeast Mexico is from Lehmann et al. (1998). The medium-gray triangles pointing up indicate transgressive system tracts, the light-gray triangles pointing down indicate highstand system tracts, and the dark-gray rectangles indicate lowstand system tracts. This study uses the sequence nomenclature established by Loucks et al. (in press) shown on the leftmost column. The letters in parentheses associated with the sequence name indicate the reservoir interval nomenclature used by Pemex. Cu1 and Cu2 = Cupido sequences 1 and 2; Co1 to Co5 = Coahuila sequences 1 through 5.

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Table 1. Poza Rica Field Lithofacies Description Seismic Architecture, Santa Agueda and Poza Rica Fields, Mexico Lithofacies Carbonate breccia General Description Breccias are characterized by large clasts mixed with a range in amount and size of matrix material. The deposits are internally chaotic, and the percentage of clasts ranges from 10 to >90%. The matrix may be dominated by either lime mud or lime sand. Clasts seen in core range in size generally from 1 to 20 cm (0.58 in.). Clasts were derived from both the platform and the slope. Platform clasts are fossil-rich packstones and grainstones commonly containing predominantly caprinid-type rudists, whereas clasts from the slope are mud rich. Platform-derived clasts are much more common than slope-derived clasts, indicating the bypass nature of the steep Tuxpan platform slope. Breccia deposits with a few grainstones and packstones interspersed show amalgamated thicknesses in core ranging to 100 m (330 ft). Clast-rich breccias are clast supported and contain very little matrix of either carbonate mud or sand. They range to several meters in thickness. Contacts between the clasts are commonly stylotized or sutured, and all interclast pores are destroyed. In grain-rich matrix breccias, the matrix between clasts is dominated by carbonate sand-size particles and lesser carbonate mud. The amalgamated thickness of this lithofacies can reach 45 m (147 ft). Commonly, the grain-rich matrix is highly dolomitized. Mud-rich matrix breccias may be clast supported with carbonate mud between the clasts, or they may be matrix supported with amalgamated thicknesses of as much as 75 m (250 ft). A subordinate amount of carbonate sand can be in the muddy matrix, and the matrix is not as commonly dolomitized as are the grain-rich matrix breccias. The fine-grained matrix commonly contains deep-water pelagic microfossils, such as globigerinid foraminifers and calcispheres. Coarse-grained grain-dominated packstones and grainstones are predominantly composed of rudist fragments (caprinids and radiolithids). These deposits are homogeneous and have no visible sedimentary structures or they show upward-fining successions. Many of these deposits contain minor amounts of mud (<10%), but some of them have several tens of percent mud. A few are capped by thin lime-mud drapes deposited out of suspension or have a gravel base containing large caprinid fragments. Mineralogy ranges from limestone to calcareous dolostone. Relatively thin interval (up to 7 m) of dark fine-grained and finely to thickly laminated lime grainstone can be observed in the Poza Rica deposits. Grains are composed of peloidal and skeletal debris. Other structures include ripples and cut-and-fill structures. Interpretation

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110 Clast-rich breccia Debris-flow deposits Grain-rich matrix breccias Debris-flow deposits or modified high-concentration density flow deposits Mud-rich hyperconcentrated density flow deposits Mud-rich matrix breccias Coarse-grained packstone and grainstone Hyperconcentrated density flow to concentrated density flow Very fine-grained lime grainstone Concentrated flow to turbidity flow

Most of the lime mudstones are low-energy, laminated, suspension deposits. Some thin intervals of lime mudstone/wackestone may be fine-grained plume associated with gravity-flow deposition.

These terrigenous mudstones represent a cessation of carbonate deposition when the carbonate factory was shut down on the adjacent platform, allowing them to accumulate without being diluted by carbonate debris.

5 4 platform built up to 1200 m (3937 ft) of relief. The Tamabra is overlain by the thin-bedded, chalky, 3
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Suspension deposits of lime skeletal mud as much as 5 m (15 ft) thick, interbedded among breccias and sand-rich deposits of the Tamabra Formation (Figures 5, 6), indicate periods of domination by lower energy depositional processes. Thick intervals of these deposits are also the main rock types of the Agua Nueva Fm. above and the Tamaulipas Superior Fm. lateral to and below the Tamabra Fm. The intervals are characterized by wispy to contorted bedding, and they commonly contain some percentage of terrigenous mud matrix. Grain types include planktonic foraminifera, sponge spicules, radiolarians, and echinoid and mollusk fragments. Thin terrigenous mudstone occurs at several interval within the Tamabra Formation The texture ranges from burrowed terrigenous mudstones to fissile shale. These sediments are composed mainly of clay and some very fine-grained terrigenous silt.

basinal limestone of the Turonian Agua Nueva Formation, which is in turn overlain by other Upper Cretaceous deep-water facies. The El Abra Formation in the Golden Lane is unconformably overlain by Tertiary deposits in the Santa Agueda field. In the interior of the Golden Lane, the Upper Cretaceous interval is preserved. Ultimately, the entire Cretaceous section is overlain by a thick, prograding, siliciclastic Tertiary succession deposited in the foreland basin of the Sierra Madre Oriental orogeny. The Golden Lane platform was tilted westward during the middle Tertiary tectonic-related subsidence of the GOM and Sierra Madre collision (Coogan et al., 1972). Regional Stratigraphy Albian and Cenomanian times in the GOM correspond to a global eustatic rise (Haq et al., 1987), reaching a peak transgression of the Phanerozoic in the Turonian. The long-term rise during middle to late Albian is consistent with the aggradational stacking pattern of carbonate platforms and minimal influx of siliciclastic sediment into the basin throughout the GOM (McFarlan and Menes, 1991). Lehmann et al. (1998) completed a detailed sequence framework of the Albian section in an Albian platform time equivalent to the Golden Lane platform in the Coahuila block and recognized three composite sequences (Figure 2). Similarly, the Comanche ShelfStuart City system in south Texas is the northward extension of the Albian carbonate systems of Mexico (Bebout and Loucks, 1977; Wilson and Ward, 1993; Yurewicz et al., 1993; Lehmann et al., 1998). Loucks et al. (in press) synthesized stratigraphic data for the 1200 m (3937 ft) of section time equivalent to the Golden Lane platform on the Comanche shelf on the basis of the literature and original investigations (Figure 2). They recognized four composite sequences: (1) latest Aptian to early Albian (AptianAlbian 1), (2) midAlbian (Albian 2), (3) mid to late Albian (Albian 3), and (4) latest Albian (Albian 4). Comparisons between the larger GOM sequence framework and stratigraphy of the Tamabra Formation
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Lime mudstone/wackestone

Terrigenous mudstone

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Figure 3. Layout of seismic data sets available for this study. Two gray rectangles show location and extent of the two 3-D seismic data sets used in this study. Thin black lines indicate the location of two 2-D seismic lines used to build regional seismic sections of Figures 7, 8. Red lines = location of various seismic sections discussed in this article. Blue line = location of two regional sections of Figures 8, 9, whereas two green lines = location of seismic sections used for comparison with core-based cross sections of Figures 21, 22. Circle = wells shown in Figures 4, 6, 21, 22.

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at Poza Rica defined by Loucks et al. (in press), as well as the informal subdivision used by Pemex (F, A, BC, D, and a/b units), are shown in Figure 2. Lithofacies and Stratigraphic Architecture of the El Abra and Tamabra Formations The Tamabra Formation deep-water deposits contain five general lithofacies groups: (1) carbonate breccia, (2) coarse-grained carbonate packstone and grainstone, (3) very fine grained lime grainstone, (4) lime mudstone or wackestone, and (5) terrigenous mudstone. Individual lithofacies groups commonly stack to form thick amalgamated deposits tens of meters thick, and they are also interbedded with one another. Each lithofacies type possesses a range of characteristics, as described in Table 1. The interpreted depositional mechanism follows Mulder
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and Alexander (2001) terminology. Facies of the El Abra Formation consist mostly of rudist rudstone and boundstone and miliolid packstone to wackestone, as well as karst breccia (Viniegra and CastilloTejero, 1970; R. G. Loucks, 2004, personal communication). For a more extensive description of the Golden Lane platform margin facies, see Viniegra and Castillo-Tejero (1970), Enos (1977), and Chen et al. (2001). Vertical stacking of facies in the Tamabra Formation in Poza Rica field is illustrated in core description of well A (Figures 3, 4). On the basis of modern examples (e.g., Crevello and Schlager, 1980; Grammer et al., 1993) and ancient examples (Brown and Loucks, 1993; Enos and Stephens, 1993; Playton and Kerans, 2002; Janson et al., 2007; Playton, 2008; Playton et al., in press), we have found a predictive relationship between position within the sequence framework and the

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Figure 4. Core description of well A. From Loucks et al., in press.

style of carbonate slope to basin-floor deposition. During late transgressive systems tract (TST) and early highstand systems tract (HST) deposition, platforms build steep margins that become unstable and shed the bulk of material that formed the megabreccia complexes. In addition, platform

margin failure at this time sets up a corrugated platform margin and tends to channelize debris in the basin, yielding a highly laterally heterogeneous reservoir stratigraphy. During the remainder of highstand deposition, decreased accommodation leads to rapid shedding of carbonate sands along the
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length of the margin, producing a more homogeneous strike-continuous blanket of grain-dominated turbidites. Given this simple model, the overall stratigraphic architecture of Poza Rica deposits can be subdivided into four sequences that fit remarkably well with the stratigraphic architecture recognized elsewhere in Mexico and south Texas for timeequivalent carbonate deposits, described in detail by Loucks et al. (in press) (Figure 2). Loucks et al. (in press) interpreted the part of the Tamaulipas that occurs at the base of the Tamabra Formation as time equivalent with gulfwide transgression during deposition of the Aptian La Pena Formation elsewhere and deposition of retrograding carbonate ramps such as the Cupido in northern Mexico and the Aptian Cow Creek and Pearsall Formation in Texas (Goldhammer, 1999). It therefore must correspond to the maximum flooding surface (MFS) of their AptianAlbian 1 sequence. The early Albian was a period dominated regionally by vertical aggradation of carbonate platforms of the Golden Lane, Valles, Coahuila, and Stuart CityComanche. The vertical aggradation interval is most prone to development of oversteepened margins and most likely was synchronous with deposition of abundant megabreccias in the basal interval of the Tamabra Formation at Poza Rica (Figure 4). Loucks et al. (in press) equated this episode of platform development with the latest TST to HST of the AptianAlbian 1 sequence. The second composite sequence, Albian 2, is represented by an initial lowstand systems tract (LST) phase of slow sedimentation followed by transgression. The Albian upper Glen Rose in Texas and part of the middle Albian Acatita in the Coahuila area reflects a period of strong progradation (HST) in the Albian Stuart City margin, which is likely to be coeval with the first period of major grainstone-dominated hyperconcentrated to concentrated and turbidite deposition in the Tamabra (Figure 4). The next widespread event in northern Mexico and Texas is the Albian 3 composite sequence, which reflects a regional change in the style of the Stuart City margin from prograding to aggrading and corresponds to the Lehmann et al. (1998) Co3 sequence in northern Mexico. The next debris114

flow interval that overlies the first Albian 2 HST grainstone interval (Figure 4) was interpreted by Loucks et al. (in press) to represent early TST deposition associated with shelf and shelf-margin aggradation. The following grain-dominated hyperconcentrated to concentrated deposits and turbidite deposits are then interpreted as the Albian 3 HST. The terminal Albian sequence (Albian 4) has a green-gray deep-water shale (at a depth of 2012 m [6601 ft] in Figure 4) at the base that is interpreted as an LST corresponding to a GOM-wide event (McFarlan and Menes, 1991; Goldhammer, 1999; Kerans and Loucks, 2002). The upper part of the Albian 4 sequence represents a period of retrogradation that carries through into the Cenomanian. Across Texas, intrashelf basins form above the shallow-water platform top of the Albian 3 sequence. In the Poza Rica area, this sequence equates with deposition of an interval that records contracted deposition of reefal breccias and rudist debris in an apron close to the shelf margin (Loucks et al., in press).

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DATA AND METHODS Data Used Seismic analysis is based on 425 km2 (164 mi2) of 3-D seismic data and 50 km (31 mi) of 2-D seismic data. Two 3-D seismic surveys (Figures 1, 3) cover the deep-water Poza Rica field and the adjacent Golden Lane platform, as well as Santa Agueda field. In addition, two 2-D seismic lines that connect the two 3-D blocks were used to build regional seismic sections (Figure 3). Seismic data quality is overall fairly good in the Poza Rica data set. In the Santa Agueda data set, rugged topography at the top of the platform has induced severe diffractions of the incoming seismic wave energy that have not been entirely removed by the migration process. In addition, because of the strong impedance contrast between the mostly siliciclastic Tertiary formations and the underlying Cretaceous carbonate platform, most of the incoming acoustic energy has been reflected back to the surface, and only a small part of this

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Figure 5. Examples of seismic character across westward margin of the Golden Lane platform in the Santa Agueda field area. (A, B) Faint steeply inclined reflection suggests a steep-sided margin with bypass slope. In C, some of the slope reflections are interfingering with the platform interior. For each of the three seismic sections, the dashed line indicates the interpreted top of the carbonate interval. TWT = two-way traveltime.

Figure 6. Vertical seismic profile (VSP) data at well X overlain on seismic data. Match between VSP and seismic data is generally good except within the reservoir interval where VSP data show one additional reflection compared with that of 3-D seismic data. See Figure 3 for location of seismic lines and well X. MFS = maximum flooding surface; TWT = two-way traveltime. Janson et al. 115

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Figure 7. Vertical seismic section illustrating a good match between well-log-based formation tops and corresponding seismic horizons in the distal part of Poza Rica field. MFS = maximum flooding surface; TWT = two-way traveltime.

acoustic energy has been refracted into the underlying platform. As a result, only the low-frequency high-energy part of the platform interior seismic response is visible in the seismic profile. The higher frequency part of the seismic signal is so contaminated by destructive diffraction that it is indistinguishable from noise and, therefore, unavailable for the interpretation process. In addition, seismic expression of the westward slope of the Golden Lane platform is not constant throughout the data set. In some lines, the edge of the platform consists of a steeply inclined, faint, low-amplitude reflection that separates the platform interior from onlapping reflections against the slope (Figure 5). In other lines, upper slope reflections appear to interfinger with platform interior reflections. Given the classic interpretation that the Golden Lane platform is an isolated platform (Galicia, 2000; Chen et al., 2001), a steep platform margin with erosional and bypass slope should be expected. Consequently, the plat116

form edge is also sometimes difficult to interpret on the seismic profile.

Well-to-Seismic Calibration Well-to-seismic calibration was performed using one vertical seismic profile (Figure 6) and additional checkshots in several wells and by generating a limited set of synthetic seismic profiles of wells with density and sonic well logs. However, seismicwell ties are not optimal because relatively few wells with time-depth conversion information are available as compared with the total number of wells in the field (>800). In addition, a concentration of wells with reliable depth-time conversion located on top of the structural high exists, where the main hydrocarbon production in Poza Rica field is located. As a result, a good tie is present between the well-logpicked top and the seismic

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Table 2. Seismic Facies

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data in the west part of the field that lie in the higher part of the structure (Figure 6). Mapped Horizons The following horizons were mapped throughout the 3-D seismic data in the basin area (e.g., Poza Rica field) (Figure 7): top Albian 4 sequence (top Tamabra), top Albian 2 sequence (top BC), and top Albian 2 MFS (top F). In addition, a reflection interpreted as the top of the upper Tamaulipas was picked with moderate confidence. The change between the Tamabra Formation and the upper Tamaulipas Formation is a lateral facies change from gravity-flow dominated to pelagic dominated and does not correspond to a time line. It does, however, correspond to a clear impedance contrast, creating a mappable diachronous seismic reflection throughout Poza Rica 3-D seismic data. According to Enos (1977) regional cross section, lateral pinch-out of limestone-dominated redeposited sediment of the Tamabra Formation into pelagic sediment of the upper Tamaulipas is outside the area covered by 3-D seismic surveys. Loucks et al. (in press) showed that the Tamabra is still more than 130 m (492 ft) thick in a well only 1.5 km (0.9 mi) landward of the distal edge of the 3-D seismic data. The top Albian 1 sequence (top Tamabra) is a well-marked positive reflection that can be mapped over the entire Poza Rica 3-D data set. The top Albian 2 MFS (top F) and the top Albian 2 sequence (top BC) are both mapped at a zero crossing. Top Albian 2 (top BC) is a positive-to-negative zero crossing, whereas top Albian 2 MFS (top F) corresponds to a negativeto-positive zero crossing. This relationship appears to be relatively consistent throughout the studied area. The upper Tamaulipas horizon is also a negative-to-positive zero-crossing reflection. It has been mapped throughout the Poza Rica 3-D seismic data set, although some difficulty in mapping with confidence is present in the northeastern part of the data set close to the platform toe of slope, where seismic reflections become more and more contorted and discontinuous, affecting continuity of top Tamabra Formation reflections. The top Albian 3 surface (top D) and the MFS of the Albian 4 sequence were not mapped because se118

quence 4 is too thin to be separated from sequence 3 on seismic data. Definitions of Seismic Facies Seismic facies are distinguished on the basis of the following seismic reflection characters: (1) reflection configuration; (2) reflection continuity; (3) reflection amplitude and frequency; (4) bounding relationships, that is, types(s) of reflection termination or lateral change; and (5) external geometry of the reflection package (Mitchum et al., 1977; Brown and Fisher, 1980; Fontaine et al., 1987). In the Cretaceous interval of interest, seven seismic facies were identified (Table 2) and mapped on regional sections (Figures 8, 9). Seismic facies interpretation in terms of depositional environment is difficult with seismic alone because sedimentary succession deposits in very different depositional environments can lead to similar seismic facies (Fontaine et al., 1987; Macurda, 1997; Eberli et al., 2004). However, combined with the general morphology of the system and regional knowledge of the geology, cores, and well logs, a good correlation between seismic reflection character and facies or lithology can be achieved.

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REGIONAL SEISMIC ARCHITECTURE: PLATFORM-TO-BASIN CORRELATIONS Two regional seismic sections from the Santa Agueda area (Golden Lane platform) to the Poza Rica basinal area were constructed using a small part of two 2-D seismic profiles to connect the two 3-D seismic surveys (Figures 8, 9). These two regional profiles show the architecture of the Golden Lane platform and slope and Poza Rica toe-of-slope and basin deposits. Several prominent seismic reflections can be traced from the platform area down to the toe-ofslope and basinal area. On the basis of well-log correlation, these reflections are interpreted to correspond to the following formation tops (bottom up): (1) top of the substratum, (2) top of the Pimienta Formation, (3) top of the Tamabra Formation, (4) top of the El Abra Formation, (5) top of the Mendez Formation, and (6) top of the Chicontepec Forma-

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Figure 8. Composite regional cross section showing regional stratigraphic organization from the Santa Agueda platform down to the Poza Rica toe-of-slope area. Colored thick lines = horizons that correspond to selected formation tops. Inclined yellow lines = interpreted small faults. Red boxes = location of enlargements shown in Figure 17C, D. Location of cross section shown in Figure 3. TWT = two-way traveltime.

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Figure 9. Composite regional cross section showing regional stratigraphic organization from the Santa Agueda platform down to the Poza Rica toe-of-slope area. Colored thick lines = horizons that correspond to selected formation tops. Inclined yellow lines = interpreted small faults. Location of cross section shown in Figure 3. TWT = two-way traveltime.

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Figure 10. Three-dimensional perspective view of top Tamabra and top El Abra horizons (light blue), top Pimienta horizon (purple), and top basement horizon (red). Views illustrate geometry of Albian deposits. The Albian Tamabra Formation consists of redeposited carbonate debris shed from the Golden Lane platform (right), which stood approximately 1200 m (3937 ft) above the basin floor at the end of the Albian. The positive structure affecting the basinal area is due to Tertiary reactivation and uplift. TWT = two-way traveltime. Janson et al. 119

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tion. These horizons, except for the top Tamabra and top El Abra formations have been mapped only on these composite sections. These composite regional seismic sections show platform-to-basin architecture through the Santa Agueda field on the Golden Lane platform margin and Poza Rica field in the basinal area. The most prominent feature on these two seismic sections is the Golden Lane platform to the east and its associated wedge extending to the west. The Golden Lane platform accumulated during most of the Albian mostly by vertical aggradation (Viniegra and Castillo-Tejero, 1970; Galicia, 2000; Chen et al., 2001). The platform-to-basin relief at the end of the Albian is estimated to be up to 1200 m (3937 ft) (given the 600-ms two-way traveltime [TWT] of relief using a 4000-m/s average velocity with no correction for compaction). Figure 10 shows a 3-D view of the El Abra Formation horizon and the time-equivalent Tamabra Formation top horizon (light-blue surface) overlying the top Pimienta Formation horizon (purple surface) and the basement horst block (red surface). The Golden Lane platform consists of a thick succession of mostly chaotic contorted reflections capped by several discontinuous, mounded, highamplitude reflections. The base of the Cretaceous platform is represented by a semicontinuous highamplitude reflection that is interpreted to correlate with the top of the Jurassic Pimienta Formation in the basinal area. Inclined high-amplitude semicontinuous reflections dipping toward the northeast represent the transition between the topographic rim of the Golden Lane platform into the platform interior. The relief between the Golden Lane rim and the platform interior is more than 50 ms, equating to 75 m (246 ft) or more, depending on the acoustic velocity of these carbonate sediments. Given current data, whether this relief represents a true transition from an elevated carbonate margin to a deeper platform interior or whether it is simply the result of differential compaction between the cemented margin and the muddier platform interior is unknown. The westward slope of the platform into the MislantaChicontepec Basin is represented on seismic data by (1) onlapping reflections; (2) discon120

tinuous inclined reflections; or (3) (occasionally) continuous, inclined, high-amplitude reflections. These reflections, which can be mapped using the Poza Rica 3-D survey, correspond to the top Tamabra Formation, which was interpreted from the well tie. The interval between the Pimienta and top El Abra Tamabra horizon comprises the Albian section that in the basin includes both the Tamabra Formation (redeposited carbonate sediment) and the upper Tamaulipas Formation (pelagic sediment). The basement horst under Poza Rica field is seismically imaged by a chaotic low-amplitude reflection capped by a semicontinuous high-amplitude reflection that becomes difficult to trace accurately below 2 s (TWT). Viniegra and Castillo-Tejero (1970) located another basement horst below the Golden Lane platform on the basis of a single core, but it cannot be clearly seen on available seismic data. Between the basement high under Poza Rica field and the one underlying the Golden Lane platform, the topographic low is filled with Jurassic sediment (Salas, 1949; Viniegra and Castillo-Tejero, 1970; Enos, 1977) that corresponds to semicontinuous moderate- to high-amplitude reflections in regional composite seismic sections (below the blue horizon in Figures 8, 9). These reflections seem to onlap on the basement high. Overlying the Albian interval, several highamplitude continuous reflections in the basinal area represent the Upper Cretaceous Agua Nueva, San Felipe, and Mendez formations, which consist of pelagic chalk and shaly deposits. A series of eastwardinclined, semicontinuous, low-amplitude reflections with numerous truncation geometries represent the eastward progradation of Tertiary siliciclastic sediments associated with the foreland basin fill of the Sierra Madre Oriental (Soegaard et al., 2003). The high-amplitude continuous reflection, easily recognized on seismic data (yellow horizon in Figures 8, 9), correlates to the top of the Chicontepec Formation in well-log and core data (Figure 6). These Tertiary reflections onlap and drape over relief of the Golden Lane platform. Detailed seismic architecture of the Golden Lane platform in the Santa Agueda field area and toe-of-slope and basin deposits in the Poza Rica field area will be described in the next sections.

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Figure 11. (Top) Uninterpreted seismic section through the Golden Lane platform. (Middle) Interpreted seismic section. Purple line = top of El Abra Formation. Blue line = top of Pimienta Formation. Dashed green line = intersection with amplitude time slice displayed in Figures 13, 15. The yellow dashed lines represent the interpreted top of the platform below the El Abra horizon. Red box = location of enlargement presented below. (Bottom) Enlarged view of seismic expression of the top of the El Abra Formation. This irregular surface shows relief up to 200 m (656 ft) (using a 400-m/s seismic velocity), which is interpreted as a post-Albian karst feature on the platform top. TWT = twoway traveltime.

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DETAILED SEISMIC ARCHITECTURE Santa Agueda Platform Platform Top Because of the high-impedance contrast between platform carbonates and overlying Tertiary siliciclastic deposits, few if any reflections can be carried from the platform interior to the slope. The platform top shows high-amplitude, mounded, semicontinuous reflections with abundant diffraction hyperbolas (seismic facies 7 in Table 2) (Figure 11). The rugged topography imaged by the 3-D seis-

mic surveys is most likely produced by intensive karstification of the Golden Lane platform top. Karstification of the top of the Golden Lane platform has been known about since discovery of the Golden Lane margin reservoirs (Salas, 1949). In addition, core observations in Santa Agueda field by the authors reveal a range of karst-related deposits, such as laminated terrigenous sediment interpreted as cave fill and a range of carbonate breccia from crackle to mosaic to chaotic interpreted as cave breccia (Viniegra and CastilloTejero, 1970; Coogan et al., 1972; Janson et al., 2004).
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Figure 12. Perspective view of the time structure map of the top El Abra Formation horizon. Color on horizon represents two-way traveltime.

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The platform interior area is dominated by chaotic seismic facies (seismic facies 6 in Table 2). Within the platform interior chaotic, one other interval of high-amplitude mounded reflections can be observed. On the basis of the interpretation of similar seismic facies on top of the platform, this other interval could indicate an older phase of platform karstification (see Figures 8, 9, 11; Figure 12 shows a 3-D view of the top of the El Abra Formation horizon). This very irregular topography is interpreted as having resulted from a major karst
Figure 13. Amplitude time slice over Golden Lane platform. Yellow line = interpreted platform margin. Green dashed line = location of Figure 11. High-amplitude chaotic response (blue circle) is interpreted as karstified top of the platform. Large reentrants that scallop the platform margin might have been created by large-scale collapse or may result from post-Albian erosion of the platform.

event at the end of the Albian (Viniegra and CastilloTejero, 1970; Coogan et al., 1972; Janson et al., 2004). Seismic reflection geometries indicate possible large-scale erosion and dissolution of the platform top and margin (Figure 13). Several deep depressions in the surface are interpreted as sinkholes related to karstification of the platform top. The edge of the Golden Lane platform in the Santa Agueda 3-D seismic survey is not well defined everywhere, but it was mapped at the change from high-amplitude continuous reflections of the

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Figure 14. (A) Seismic section along strike of Golden Lane platform. Yellow, green, and blue horizons = top of Mendez, top of El Abra, and top of Pimienta formations, respectively. Red and yellow boxes = location of enlargements shown in panels B and C. (B) Enlarged view showing two large erosive channels that cut through upper Albian slope. (C) In enlarged view, blue arrows point to reflection geometries interpreted to be older erosive channels on the slope of the Golden Lane platform. TWT = two-way traveltime.

overlying onlapping Tertiary siliciclastic sediment and highly discontinuous reflections of the platform top. This change in reflection character, as seen on time slices, shows that the margin is not rectilinear

but sinuous (Figure 13), with several large reentrants. These reentrants can be interpreted as largescale margin-collapse features (Mullins et al., 1986; Bosellini, 2001) that have scalloped the slope, could
Figure 15. Amplitude time slice over Golden Lane platform. Yellow line = interpreted platform margin. Green dashed line = location of Figure 11. Highamplitude chaotic response (blue circle) is interpreted as karstified top of the platform. Orange arrows point to possible large canyons on the Golden Lane platform slope.

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Figure 16. Three strike-parallel sections across the Poza Rica data set. For each section, the seismic section with horizons is shown (top), along with the line drawing (bottom) of the Tamabra interval, to illustrate reflection geometries. Panel A is the most landward section near the toe of slope of the Golden Lane platform. Panel B is located in the middle of the Poza Rica field. Panel C is the most distal section. Red arrow = location of regional dip-parallel cross section of Figures 8, 9. Yellow box = position of enlargement shown in Figure 17A, B. TWT = two-way traveltime.

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have sourced some of the debris accumulation observed in Poza Rica field, and could also have served as preferential paths for sediment shedding from the platform top. Platform Slope Strike-parallel vertical seismic sections through the slope reveal numerous concave features that truncate underlying reflections (Figure 14). On time slices, these features form indentations on the upper basin-facing slope but are absent in the platform interior-facing slope (Figure 15). These erosional features are interpreted as erosional channels that cut the slope. The size of these channels ranges from 300 to 600 m (9841969 ft) in width and between 30 and 80 ms TWT in depth. This traveltime corresponds to a depth of 60 to 160 m (196525 ft) using a seismic velocity of 4000 m/s for time-todepth conversion. These channels are sometimes vertically stacked, and their dimensions resemble those of published carbonate slope channels (Mullins and Cook, 1986; Eberli et al., 2004; Phelps and Kerans, 2007) and siliciclastic slope channels (Flood and Damuth, 1987; Clark et al., 1992; Waltham, 2008; Wood and Mize-Spansky, 2009). None of these canyons has the depth or width required to be the single major submarine canyon feeding the entire Tamabra interval. A regional line-source-feeding mechanism for platform-tobasin sediment is therefore probably associated with a local point-source feed, such as in the modern Bahamas slope (Mullins et al., 1984). Poza Rica Toe-of-Slope and Basin Deposits Reflection Geometries
Toe of Slope and Basin: Poza Rica Field Area

Regional dip-oriented cross sections (Figures 8, 9) show a change in reflection character from the platform toe of slope to the basinal area. Figure 16 illustrates the reflection character of three strike sections in various positions away from the slope into the basin. In the proximal part of the Poza Rica area (Figure 16A), reflections show wide mounded features associated with multiple small-scale faults. The toe of slope of the Golden Lane platform is char126

acterized by wavy contorted to chaotic reflections. Farther basinward, seismic facies within the Tamabra interval consist of contorted and mounded lowamplitude reflections (seismic facies 3 in Table 1). Internal reflection geometries within this seismic facies are complex. The most distal part of the Poza Rica area (Figure 16C) shows more continuous, undulating, high-amplitude reflections, whereas in the central part (Figure 16B), reflections are of lower amplitude and have more mounded, wavy, and shingled geometries. Figure 17 shows enlarged displays of the Tamabra interval, illustrating complex reflection geometries in both strike (Figure 17AC) and dip directions (Figure 17D). Reflection terminations consist of downlap, onlap, toplap, and truncation. The shape of reflections ranges from horizontal, inclined, and shingling, to mounded and channel shaped. In the proximal part of the dip-oriented section (Figure 17D), near the toe of slope of the Golden Lane platform, reflections are short and discontinuous. The base of the Tamabra interval shows numerous short, discontinuous, concave, and convex reflections, whereas the upper part of the Tamabra interval shows more continuous, higher amplitude, convex reflections. Farther downdip, reflections are more continuous and higher amplitude on the dipparallel section. Shorter reflections onlap onto more continuous concave reflections. An apparent general shingle to the northeast is mainly caused by tectonic uplift of the underlying basement (see following paragraph). Figure 17A, B shows an enlargement of reflection geometries seen on the larger strike-parallel cross section in Figure 16. Similar to the dip-parallel section, the base of the Tamabra shows numerous short, discontinuous, concave reflections, whereas the upper third of the interval shows more continuous higher amplitude reflections. A few lobate (concave-upward) packages of reflection can be distinguished, but overall, the reflections are difficult to follow more than 500 m (1640 ft) laterally. The more distal strike-parallel section (Figure 17B) has overall higher amplitudes, and more continuous reflections are seen. Figure 17B also shows two clear concave-upward reflections with lateral shingling (green and yellow arrows) that are approximately 1

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Figure 17. Enlargement of part of the strike-parallel (AC) and dip-parallel (D) seismic sections shown in Figures 8, 16. Reflection terminations and reflection geometries within the Tamabra interval are also shown. Note lack of lateral continuity and complex relationship between reflections. Purple, orange, and blue lines correspond to the top of the Tamabra, upper Tamaulipas, and Pimienta formations, respectively. Thin orange lines = positive amplitude reflections, whereas green lines = negative amplitude reflections. Green and yellow arrows in panel B show concave-upward reflections with lateral shingling. The blue arrows indicate a convex-upward reflection. TWT = two-way traveltime.

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Figure 18. Flattened seismic sections. Yellow, green, orange, blue, and red horizons = top of Chicontepec, Tamabra (top Albian 4 sequence), upper Tamaulipas, Pimienta formations, and the basement, respectively. (A) Regional seismic section of Figure 8 is flattened on the Pimienta Formation horizon. (B, C) Flattened dip-parallel seismic section. (D) Flattened strike-parallel section. Bold dashed lines highlight restored reflection geometries forming shingling, mounded, and lobate reflection geometry. TWT = two-way traveltime. 128 Seismic Architecture, Santa Agueda and Poza Rica Fields, Mexico

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and 1.7 km (0.62 and 1.06 mi) wide, respectively. In the eastern part of the section, shorter reflections onlap onto a continuous, high-amplitude, faintly convex reflection (blue arrows on Figure 17B).
Reconstructed Geometries

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Interpretation of Reflection Geometries

So that predeformation and tilting of the Cretaceous depositional system can be reconstructed, seismic data need to be flattened on a chronostratigraphically consistent surface that has as little paleotopography as possible. The base of the Tamabra Formation is a lithostratigraphic change from gravityflow deposits and deep-water carbonate mud deposits of the upper Tamaulipas Formation. This lithostratigraphic surface cannot be used for flattening. The data set was flattened on the Pimienta Formation horizon, which corresponds to the top of an argillaceous and deep-water mudstone that is interpreted to be a consistent chronostratigraphic surface with no significant topography. The flattened seismic section, which displays reflection geometries that are interpreted to represent overall original geometries at the time of deposition (Figure 18), shows westward thinning of the Tamabra interval. In all three dip-oriented sections (Figure 18AC), proximal parts of the sections show more discontinuous mounded reflection than do the distal parts. The strike-oriented section (Figure 18D) shows convex-upward reflection geometries associated with a few shingling reflections. Overall, the flattening data show more lobate reflection, with onlap of shorter reflection onto the lobate reflections. Some of the shingling of the basement high topography has previously been interpreted as evidence of shallow-water carbonates (Horbury et al., 2004). On the flattened regional cross section (Figure 18A), their reconstructed geometry could alternatively be interpreted as shingling reflections

The blocky, discontinuous, short reflections observed at the toe of slope of the Golden Lane platform are interpreted as toe-of-slope slumps and coarse debris-flow deposits with large blocks (Mullins et al., 1986; Grammer et al., 1993; Lomando et al., 1995; Janson, 2002). Similar reflection character is also observed at the base of the Tamabra Formation, which consists dominantly of thick carbonate breccia interpreted in core and well-log interpretation as massive debris-flow deposits (Figure 4) (Loucks et al., in press). More continuous, mounded to lensoid, convex-upward reflections associated with lateral shingling in both dip and strike sections are interpreted as large fan deposits of concentrated density flows and turbidites. In strike section, obliquely shingled reflections are interpreted as lateral accretion of stacked and amalgamated debris-flow deposits and/or concentrated gravityflow deposits (Eberli et al., 2004). In dip-parallel sections, shingled reflections associated with fan deposits have been interpreted as channel-back filling (Betzler et al., 1999; Eberli et al., 2004; Savary and Ferry, 2004). Isochore Map
Albian 1 to Albian 4 Sequence (Tamabra to Upper Tamaulipas Formations) Map

Figure 19A shows a seismic-based isochore map and a well-log-based isochore map between the top Tamabra horizon and the top upper Tamaulipas horizon. The two maps show overall southwestward thinning of the entire Tamabra section. The thickest interval is located in the northeast corner of the 3-D data set, close to the Golden Lane platform.

Figure 19. Isochore maps for different intervals within the Tamabra Formation based on core data (left) and seismic data (right). (A) Two maps illustrating southwestward thinning of the entire Albian Tamabra Formation interval. Panels B and C show intraTamabra interval thickness variation. (B) Isochore map between top of Albian 2 sequence (top BC) and maximum flooding surface (MFS) of Albian 2 sequence (top F). This interval shows thickness variations interpreted as dip-elongated aprons superimposed on a general southwestern thinning trend. (C) Isochore map of Albian 3 and Albian 4 sequences (between top of Tamabra horizon and Albian 2 top BC horizon). Two top sequences could not be separated on seismic data. Well-log-based maps on the left show only the Albian 3 sequence. White dashed line on seismic isochore maps = area of well-log-based map on left. Janson et al. 131

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Figure 20. Seismic attribute slices of the 3-D seismic data set flattened on the top Tamabra Formation (top Albian 4) horizon. Slice locations are progressively deeper left to right. The uppermost slice (left) is located 12 ms below the Tamabra horizon and corresponds approximately to the Albian 3 and Albian 4 sequences. The middle slice is located 44 ms below the Tamabra horizon corresponds approximately to the Albian 2 sequence. The deepest slice (right) is located 68 ms below the Tamabra horizon and corresponds approximately to the Albian 1 sequence (A interval). The orange area corresponds to the intersection between the time slice and the upper Tamaulipas Formation horizon. The Albian interval is located on the right side of the orange area. (A) Slice through the seismic amplitude volume. Yellow dashed lines = lobate shape. (BD) Slices through inverted acoustic impedance volume, instantaneous frequency volume, and coherence volume, respectively. Thick dashed line = lobate shapes identified on each slice, whereas thin dashed line = shape identified on the seismic amplitude slice for reference. 132 Seismic Architecture, Santa Agueda and Poza Rica Fields, Mexico

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Figure 20. Continued.

In the more proximal position, where the Tamabra is the thickest, a significant along-strike thickness variability could indicate that some preferential path exists for off-platform sediment shedding and gravity-flow deposits.

Albian 2 Isochore (Top FTop BC) Map

This interval encompasses the Albian 2 TST and Albian 2 HST. As identified on the well-log-based isochore map (Figure 19B, left), this interval is characterized by southward thinning. The basal interval
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shows significant thickness variation interpreted as depositional geometries dominated by lobate deposits. In addition, the northwest corner shows thick intervals that are elongated along the northeastsouthwest. This pattern is interpreted as large debris aprons, partly located outside the study area, separated by deeper channels at the toe of slope of the Golden Lane platform.
Albian 3 and Albian 4 Isochore (Top TamabraTop BC) Map

This interval includes both Albian 3 and Albian 4 sequences. Because of the seismic resolution of the data set, where the Albian 4 sequence is represented by one reflection, this isochore map represents combined thickness variations of the Albian 3 and Albian 4 sequences (Figure 19C). The isochore map shows a more complex thickness distribution than the underlying interval, and the isochore map shows a heterogeneous thickness variation similar to that seen on the regional seismic section (Figures 8, 9). Southwestward thinning is still present, but it is subtler. The rapid lateral thickness variations can be interpreted as evidence of juxtaposition of different depositional environments, such as channel and lobes. The thicker interval in this case is located in the northeast corner of the data set and is isolated from the platform toe of slope. This isolated thick could be interpreted as a large fan complex, suggesting a change in the source of debris and in transport direction. Seismic Attribute Analyses The 3-D seismic data set was flattened using the top Tamabra horizon to investigate the horizontal distribution of various seismic attributes in horizonparallel seismic slices. For each flattened cube and for each attribute, three time slices were presented that intersect Albian 3 and Albian 4 (shallowest), Albian 2, and Albian 1 (deepest) sequences, respectively (Figure 20).
Flattened Amplitude

by rectilinear features that could be interpreted as fans and channels. The middle slice (Albian 2 sequence) shows a similar reflection character distribution, but with a much narrower proximal zone with chaotic reflections. The lobate amplitude features seen on the two upper slices are approximately 1.5 to 4 km (0.9 2.5 mi) wide. Their fanlike shape is coherent, with sediment coming from the adjacent Golden Lane. The uppermost slice (Albian 3 and Albian 4 sequences) shows lobes smaller than those of the middle slice (Albian 2). The Albian slice shows more continuous reflection, with fewer lobate features and a more chaotic amplitude distribution than seen in the two shallower slices. Small fanlike seismic geometries can be observed in the northern area.
Acoustic Impedance Inversion

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The inverted acoustic impedance data (Figure 20B) were flattened on the top Pimienta horizon. Time slices of this flattened data set show lobate features similar to those seen on amplitude slices. The inverted acoustic impedance cube is a proxy for porosity. The shallowest seismic slice shows large lobate areas of low impedance that correspond roughly to the lobate area on the amplitude slice. Lowest impedance values are mostly within the lobate shape identified on the amplitude slice. The lower slice shows less low-impedance area. The northern areas that were showing lobate shapes on the amplitude display consist mostly of highimpedance values showing a faint lobate shape. A general increase in overall impedance values and a decrease in lateral heterogeneities in impedance seem to be occurring in the Albian 2 slice.
Frequency

Figure 20A shows three time slices of the flattened seismic amplitude 3-D data set. The proximal part of the shallowest slice (Albian 3 and Albian 4 sequences) shows mostly chaotic reflections, whereas the more distal part shows large lobate shapes cut
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The frequency seismic attribute (Figure 20C) is a good indicator of complex reflector geometries that are below seismic resolution (Robertson and Nogami, 1984; Taner et al., 1994; Chen and Sydney, 1997; Taner, 2001). All slices show rapidly changing frequencies in the northeast at the toe of slope of the Golden Lane platform. Such frequency tuning may indicate complex reflector geometries, such as slumps, large blocks, and coarse debris flows.

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Figure 21. Comparison of dip-parallel core-based cross sections (A, B) with seismic amplitude (C) and inverted acoustic impedance (D) sections. Core-based cross section taken from Loucks et al. (in press). Cross section in panel B was scaled to have a dimension comparable to that of the seismic section shown in panels C and D. Both cross section data are flattened on the maximum flooding surface (MFS) of the Albian 2 sequence (top F). Green, yellow, and blue horizons on both cross sections and seismic sections = top of Albian 4 (top Tamabra Formation), top of Albian 2 (top BC), and MFS of Albian 2 (top F), respectively. For location of the cored well and seismic section see Figure 3. TWT = two-way traveltime.

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More distally, the frequency display shows several lobate and arched shapes of relatively constant frequency that correspond to the lobes identified on the amplitude slices. The rectilinear feature cutting one of the southern lobes is particularly clear, with its frequency values higher than those of the adjacent lobate area. The deepest slice displays a more chaotic distribution of frequency, indicating complex reflector distribution.
Coherence

The coherence attribute indicates the amount of similarity between adjacent traces. It is a good indicator of the complexities of reflection geometries and enhances small-scale and subtle features (Bahorich and Farmer, 1995; Chen and Sydney, 1997; Taner, 2001; Massaferro et al., 2004). Several linear features visible on coherence slices (Figure 20D) are interpreted as faults. In all three slices, the area close to the Golden Lane platform has a low coherence, indicating complex reflection geometries, whereas the distal part shows more laterally continuous reflections (lighter color in the coherency display). Several lobate features that match the one observed in the other attribute map can be observed in the Albian 2, Albian 3, and Albian 4 slices.
Interpretation of Seismic Slices

are interpreted as channels that feed or erode lobate deposits. These lobate shapes are 1 to 5 km (0.63.1 mi) wide, and their geometries are consistent with a platform source to the east. The more discontinuous complex reflection area is interpreted as slumps with large blocks and coarse debris-flow deposits that create a complex distribution of impedance and diffraction of seismic waves, resulting in complex discontinuous reflection geometries. This reflection character is seen mostly in the proximal area near the Golden Lane platform and in the Albian 1 sequence, which is dominated by debris-flow deposits (Figure 4) (Loucks et al., in press). Comparison of Seismic and Lithofacies Core-Based Section Figure 21 compares a seismic cross section with a core-based geologic cross section along the general dip direction of Poza Rica field of Loucks et al. (in press) (Figure 21A, B). The seismic amplitude section (Figure 21C), the inverted acoustic impedance section (Figure 21D), and the core section are flattened on the top Albian 2 sequence (top BC) horizon. Characteristics and distribution of the seismic facies can be compared with those of the lithofacies mapped on the core-based cross section. The upper Albian sequence 4, which consists of a thin stack of hyperconcentrated density flows, concentrated density flows and turbidite deposits (Mulder and Alexander, 2001), and underlying lime mud and suspension deposits, is contained within the top Tamabra Formation strong positive reflection (below the green horizon). The Albian 3 sequence corresponds to the reflection above the top of the Albian 2 sequence (yellow horizon). These reflections are relatively continuous and almost parallel the top of the Tamabra Formation. The two intervals show a similar acoustic-impedance signature. Albian 2 sequences TST and HST are located between the Albian 2 sequence (yellow horizon) and the MFS of the Albian 2 sequence (blue horizon). This interval is characterized by an upper part with a higher amplitude semicontinuous reflection than its base. Similarly, acoustic impedance is lower at the top of this interval than near the base, although the difference is more pronounced in the proximal

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Seismic slices from various seismic attributes show a common pattern: The proximal area close to the Golden Lane platform has discontinuous complex reflections, whereas the more distal area shows more continuous higher amplitude reflections. In the Albian 2, Albian 3, and Albian 4 slices, more continuous reflections form large lobate shapes. The Albian 1 slice has consistently more chaotic, discontinuous, complex reflection geometries. Given the toe-of-slope and basinal settings of the Poza Rica area (Enos, 1977), we interpreted lobate shapes with more continuous reflections as large probably basin-floor-fan deposits of hyperconcentrated density flows and turbidites. Rectilinear features associated with the lobate shape
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Figure 22. Comparison of strike-parallel core-based cross sections (A, B) with seismic amplitude (C) and inverted acoustic impedance (D) sections. The core-based cross section taken from Loucks et al. (in press). The cross section in panel B was scaled to have a dimension comparable to that of seismic section shown in panels C and D. Both cross section data are flattened on the maximum flooding surface (MFS) of Albian 2 sequence (top F). Green, yellow, and blue horizons on both cross section and seismic sections = top of Albian 4 (top Tamabra Formation), top of Albian 2 (top BC), and MFS of Albian 2 (top F), respectively. For location of the cored well and seismic section see Figure 3.

part of the section than in the distal part. This seismic reflection seems to correspond to the difference between a hyperconcentrated density flowdominated HST and a tighter, debris-flowdominated TST. The Albian 1 sequence and the Albian 2 LST correspond

to seismic reflections between the upper Tamaulipas Formation horizon (orange) and the MFS of the Albian 2 sequence (blue horizon). In core, this interval is dominated by stacked debris-flow deposits. The reflections are more continuous and have a
Janson et al. 137

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higher amplitude in the central part of the section than in the more distal and proximal parts. In strikeoriented sections (Figure 22), the northwestern part of the cross section shows the same seismic signature as the one described for the dip-oriented section. However, the upper part of the Tamabra Formation (Albian 2 through Albian 4 sequences) shows a decrease in acoustic impedance toward the southeast that cannot be explained by the geologic information depicted on the core-based cross section.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Results The Golden Lane platform top in Santa Agueda field shows indications of pervasive and mature karst. The upper slope shows numerous reentrants that can be interpreted as margin collapse, whereas the lower slope shows numerous channels probably created by the continuous export of sediment from the platform top to the basinal area. Because the toe-of-slope area consistently shows a chaotic seismic facies, it is interpreted as slump and coarse debris-flow deposits. In the distal area, the base of the Tamabra Formation shows similar seismic facies, whereas the upper part has more continuous lobate to lensoid reflections that have a vague fanlike distribution on the seismic slice. The isochore map of the two upper sequences also shows irregular thickness distribution associated with increasing amounts of hyperconcentrated density flow deposits. Seismic reflection architecture matches core and well-log interpretation relatively well. Albian 1 and Albian 2 sequences are dominated by massive debris-flow deposits and show low-amplitude discontinuous reflections, whereas the Albian 3 and Albian 4 sequences display frequent thinner hyperconcentrated density flow deposits, as well as lower amplitude more continuous reflections. Discussion Poza Rica Toe of Slope Versus Lowstand Isolated Platforms The depositional environment of the Tamabra Formation has historically been the topic of discussion
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on the shallow- or deep-water depositional setting of the Tamabra Formation (Barnetche and Illing, 1956; Bebout et al., 1969; Viniegra and CastilloTejero, 1970; Coogan et al., 1972; Enos, 1977; Wilson and Ward, 1993). Since the Enos (1977) study and its interpretation as deep-water deposits, the Tamabra Formation is commonly regarded as the classic deepwater redeposited carbonate system. However, recently, the shallow-water origin of the Tamabra Formation was reintroduced by Horbury et al. (2004) on the basis of core observation and analysis of 3-D seismic data over Poza Rica field. Seismic data are unambiguous in showing the low structural position of Poza Rica field, some 700 to 1200 m (2297 3937 ft) below the top of the Golden Lane platform (Rockwell and Garcia Rojas, 1953). No indication exists on the seismic data of major preTamabra Formation or synTamabra Formation uplift of the basement block underlying Poza Rica field with a magnitude required for bringing these deposits in the shallow water. A second unambiguous relationship is the formation of the Albian carbonate westwardtapering wedge, which is thickest adjacent to the platform margin, gradually becoming 0.25 times the thickness at the crest of the field (Figures 7, 8, 18). This trend in thickness supports an interpretation of an easterly source of sediments at Poza Rica. Such a thickness trend could be created by backstepping the shallow-water carbonate platform onto the underlying basement high, although it would then conflict with the Horbury et al. (2004) interpretation of shingling reflection as platform progradation. Moreover, if a shallow-water carbonate platform had initiated on the basement high and was backstepping and/or drowning, there should be a symmetrical geometry on both sides of the basement high. In addition, circular seismic anomalies that are interpreted as karst by Horbury et al. (2004) are numerous on the coherence map throughout the Poza RicaTamabra interval. However, these anomalies are concentrated near the toe of slope of the Golden Lane platform (Figure 20) and not on the basement high, where shallow water has been invoked in the Horbury et al. (2004) model. We interpret these anomalies as the result of seismic diffraction instead of karst features. In addition, the fan-shaped feature identified on the

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Table 3. Carbonate Slope and Basin Attribute Table Age (system, series, stage) Lower Cretaceous, Albian Cambrian Silurian Upper Devonian, Frasnian Approximate Approximate Slope Slope Height (m) Angle () 1500 1000 1000 200 30 30 45 20 Distal Debris Position Distal Debris Extent (km) Channels (width) Fan (width [W] and length [L])

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Authors Enos, 1977; this study Ineson and Surlik, 1995 Surlik and Ineson, 1992 Cook et al., 1972; Srivastava et al., 1972; Whalen et al., 2000 Playford, 1980; Playford et al., 1989; George et al., 1995 Collins et al., 2006 Rigby, 1958; Lawson, 1989; Brown and Loucks, 1993; Playton, 2008 Bosellini, 1984; Harris, 1994 Savary and Ferry, 2004

Location Golden Lane, Mexico Greenland Greenland Alberta Basin, Alberta, Canada

Toe of slope/basin 30 Toe of slope/basin 70 Toe of slope/basin 50 Toe of slope 3

100400 m 14 km (W and L) ? No ? No ? No

Canning Basin, Upper Devonian, Northwest Australia Frasnian Tengiz field, Kazakhstan Carboniferous, Visan-Serpukhovian Permian, Guadalupian, Permian Basin, west Texas Capitanian Dolomites, northern Italy Middle to Upper Triassic Vocontian Basin, France Lower Cretaceous, Barremian Cantabrian Basin, Spain Cretaceous, Aptian to Cenomanian Apulia platform, Italy Cretaceous, Aptian to Cenomanian Upper Cretaceous, Cenomanian to Masstrichtian Modern

200 1200 700

90 35 70

Basin Lower slope/toe of slope Basin

2 5 15

No

200500 m No 2003000 m 13 km (W and L) ? 200500 m 50200 m

750 600 250 450

35 2 5 35 30

Slope Basin

2 4 35

5 (W) 20 (L) km

Fernandez-Mendiola et al., 1993 Bosellini et al., 1993; Borgomano, 2000; Bosellini, 2001 Van Konijnenburg et al., Maiella platform, Italy 1999; Morsilli et al., 2000; Eberli et al., 2004 Bornhold and Pilkey, 1971; Bahamas Crevello and Schlager, 1980; Eberli and Ginsburg, 1989; Mullins et al., 1984

Toe of slope/basin 20

Toe of slope/basin Up to 23 km ?

1100

35

Toe of slope/basin 315 km

100200 m

Yes (dimension unknown)

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7001200 m 3070

Upper slope to basin

Up to 55 km 1002000 m 1040 km (W and L)

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seismic slice is more consistent with a deep-water gravity-flow-deposit interpretation than an isolated shallow-water carbonate-platform interpretation. Core observation also (Enos, 1977; Loucks et al., in press) strongly favors a deep-water sedimentgravity-flow origin. The Tamabra consists of four types of breccias, grainstones, rare mud-rich wackestones, and packstones, and three key shale/mudstone intervals. Shallow-water fauna as fragmental debris is not an indicator of shallow-water deposition, nor is the presence of thick grainstone intervals. Numerous well-documented studies, such as from the Jurassic of Italy (Bosellini et al., 1981; Zempolich and Hardie, 1997), the Permian of Texas (Kerans, 2001), and the HolocenePleistocene of the Bahamas (Grammer et al., 1993), have shown conclusively that thick reservoir-quality grainstones are commonly shed from platform margins during eustatic highstands. Other excellent indicators of water depth are the fine-grained shale/mudstone units that blanket Poza Rica field at several intervals (Figure 4). These are characterized by deep-water microfauna such as globigerinid foraminifers. Stratigraphic Architecture of Toe-of-Slope Apron Despite the recent discussion by Horbury et al. (2004) previously mentioned, the Poza Rica oil field in the Tamabra Formation along the Golden Lane platform remains commonly used as a classic example of a carbonate debris toe-of-slope apron (Mullins and Cook, 1986). The debris apron was deposited next to a mostly aggrading carbonate platform with an escarpment that was as much as 1200 m (3937 ft) high. This architecture is similar to that of other steep carbonate escarpments, such as the Upper Cretaceous Maiella platform margin (Eberli et al., 1993; Van Konijnenburg et al., 1999), the Upper Cretaceous Apulia platform in Italy (Bosellini et al., 1999; Borgomano, 2000; Bosellini, 2001; Bracco Gartner et al., 2002), the Lower Cretaceous Barremian platform around the Vocontian Basin in France (Hunt and Tucker, 1993; Savary and Ferry, 2004), the Cambrian and Silurian carbonate platform in Greenland (Surlyk and Ineson, 1987, 1992; Ineson and Surlyk, 1995), and the Upper Devonian Frasnian platform in the Canadian Rocky Mountains (McLean and Mountjoy, 1993; Mountjoy and
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Becker, 2000; Whalen et al., 2000). The Poza Rica toe-of-slope apron has a large amount of redeposited debris that extended more than 25 km (16 mi) away from the platform margin. This is relatively large compared with most other carbonate platforms (Table 3). The Poza RicaGolden Lane apron shows between 400 m (1312 ft) of carbonate gravity-flow sediment accumulation at the toe of the Golden Lane platform and 150 m (492 ft) at the edge of our data, 15 km (9 mi) away from the platform. Thick debris apron deposits are documented for the Cambrian and Silurian of Greenland (200 m [650 ft]) (Surlyk and Ineson, 1987, 1992; Ineson and Surlyk, 1995), the Carboniferous ViseanSerpukhovian platform of the Pre caspian Basin (200 m [650 ft]) (Collins et al, 2006), and possibly around the Upper Cretaceous Apulia platform (>300 m [>984 ft]). In the Tamabra Formation, debris-flow deposits extend into the basin farther than 15 km (9.3 mi). A few published examples document such an extent away from the platform, such as the Cambrian and Silurian of Greenland, which extends as much as 70 km (43 mi) away from the platform margin; the Apulia platform, which may extend as much as 23 km (14 mi) (Bosellini et al., 1999; Borgomano, 2000; Bosellini, 2001; Bracco Gartner et al., 2002); and the isolated basin-floor fan that is associated with the Lower Cretaceous Barremian Vercors and Vivarais platforms in the Vocontian Basin in southeastern France, which extend up to 35 km (22 mi) away from the margin (Hunt and Tucker, 1993; Savary and Ferry, 2004). Fan-shaped geometries identified in the seismic data have lateral dimensions between 2 and 5 km (1.2 and 3.1 mi) and similar longitudinal dimensions in the flow-parallel direction. If these seismic features represent a basin-floor fan, they are then smaller than the well-documented Lower Cretaceous Barremian basin-floor fan in the southeast of France (Savary and Ferry, 2004) or the lobes identified at the toe of slope in the Columbus Basin in the Bahamas (Bornhold and Pilkey, 1971), although slightly bigger than the Permian toe-of-slope fan in the Permian Basin in west Texas (Mazzullo, 1994; Montgomery, 1996; Pacht et al., 1996; Mazzullo and Montgomery, 1997; Playton and Kerans, 2002;

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Mazingue-Desailly, 2004; Janson et al., 2007).This fan would fall into the category of the small-size calcitic submarine fan of Payros and Pujalte (2008). Basin-floor fans are thought to have been created by focused basinward export of platform-top and upper-slope deposits. Sediment export from the platform top to the basinal area is focused through existing channel on the slope, a mechanism commonly observed in carbonate slope (Mullins et al., 1984; Playton and Kerans, 2002). In the Santa Agueda data set, numerous small channels can be observed. Their dimensions are comparable to or slightly smaller than those of typical channels observed in siliciclastic deep-water systems (Clark and Pickering, 1996) and in carbonates (Table 3) (Mullins et al., 1984; GarciaMondejar and Fernandez Mendiola, 1993; Anselmetti et al., 2000; Eberli et al., 2004; Savary and Ferry, 2004).

5 4 and basin formation are typically found in strati3 graphic traps or a combination trap.
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Implications for Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production Evidence throughout the geologic record shows that grainy porous sediments can accumulate on the slope of carbonate platforms and in the basin as the result of gravity-flow deposits. Only a few existing reservoirs are producing from carbonateslope and basin deposits. The Poza Rica field remains the most widely cited example (Guzman, 1967; Enos, 1985). The other known deep-water carbonate-producing reservoirs are from the Permian of west Texas (Mazzullo and Reid, 1987; Mazzullo, 1989). Numerous small fields produce them from carbonate-redeposited sediment shed from surrounding shelves into the Midland and Delaware basins. A volumetrically significant part of Tengiz field of Kazakhstan production comes from the slope (Weber et al., 2003; Collins et al., 2006). However, it is not really a genuine slope or basin reservoir because the entire oil column extends from the platform top to the upper slope. The Poza Rica field is commonly seen as the result of a pure stratigraphic trap created by lateral pinch-out of porous toe-of-slope apron deposits to tight pelagic deposits (Guzman, 1967). This study shows that it is in fact a stratigraphic trap combined with a structural trap because of basement block uplift. In west Texas, fields producing from the slope

In the absence of a structural play, the main requirement for a slope and basinal reservoir is isolation of these grainy porous deposits from the commonly porous carbonate margin. The toe-of-slope apron has the potential to produce a margin parallel zone of porous rock that accumulates at the toe of slope. Unlike the slope apron model of Mullins and Cook (1986), the toe-of-slope apron is detached from the margin top and ideally could form a stratigraphic trap. The toe-of-slope apron consists of a mix between a continuous wedge of platform-derived coarse sediment along the platform margin and an amalgamation of channelized gravity flow that accumulated at the toe of slope, such as the one documented for the Holocene of the Tongue of the Ocean in the Bahamas. This model of a toe-of-slope stratigraphic trap was proposed 20 yr ago (Mullins and Cook, 1986), but the only known producing examples are Poza Rica field and the Zechstein Dolomite in Poland, where hydrocarbons are produced by detached accumulation of grainy rocks that are deposited as a fanlike structure in a toe-of-slope apron (Barnetche and Illing, 1956; Trela et al., 2003). The existing field in west Texas developed in a channelized fan, where accumulation of porous grainy rock occurs in antecedent topography at the toe of slope. A true isolated basin-floor fan reservoir has not been documented yet, except perhaps for the Wieclaw slump or the Sulecin oil field in Poland, which were called slumps by Trela et al. (2003) but are described as isolated accumulations of packstone and grainstone at the toe-of-slope-to-basin transition. In the Poza Rica field, the best reservoir-quality rocks are found in grainy concentrated density flows and debris flows with a grainy matrix. Most of the porosity is primary porosity and burial dissolution. The absence of significant terrestrial input has prevented extensive early burial precipitation (Loucks et al., in press). In the Permian Basin, deposits that are charged with hydrocarbon range from fractured tight or dolomitized debris flows in erosive channels to clean oolithic sand in both toe-of-slope channel or basinfloor fan settings (Griffin and Breyer, 1989; Saller et al., 1989; Leary and Feeley, 1991).
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CONCLUSIONS The integration of two 3-D seismic data sets allows us to unravel the architecture of the Golden Lane platform and its associated debris apron in the Poza Rica field area. The karstified Golden Lane platform top and margin is bounded by a steep channelized slope that grade into the toe-of-slope and basinal gravity-flow deposits. The regional reconstructed architecture shows that the platform-to-basin relief could have been up to 1200 m (3937 ft) at the end of the Albian time. The debris apron extends more than 15 km (9.3 mi) away from the margin. At the edge of our seismic data set, 15 km (9.3 mi) away from the margin the Tamabra Formation is still more than 100 m (328 ft) thick. The gravity-flow deposits that form the Tamabra Formation and the Poza Rica field consist of a complex stack of debris-flow deposits, hyperconcentrated densityflow deposits, and turbidites. These Albian deposits can be organized into four depositional sequences. The seismic reflection characters and the core information consistently show that the lower two sequences are dominated by debris-flow deposits, whereas the upper two sequences have much more hyperconcentrated flow deposits that form large-scale lobate features up to 5 km (3 mi) in size. This study confirms the deep-water origin of the Tamabra Formation and shows the seismic expression of this large debris apron associated with an aggrading Cretaceous carbonate platform. These debris aprons are common throughout the geologic records and have the potential to host significant volumes of hydrocarbon. Besides Poza Rica, other existing basinal carbonate reservoirs include the Permian of west Texas and Poland and the Carboniferous fields in the Caspian area.

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