Although typically < 10 km wide, intraslope minibasins such as those in the Gulf of Mexico can include rapid subsidence, accumulate thick sediment pile, and ultimately host large hydrocarbon accumulations. Differential sediment loading on a mobile substrate (e.g., salt) can drive accommodation and stratigraphic architectures in intraslope minibasins, but sedimentologic and tectonic processes commonly are evaluated separately. This contribution by Kopriva and Kim experimentally integrates depositional and tectonic processes to investigate the relations of substrate movement and minibasin sedimentation. A silicone polymer model of a viscous mobile substrate provided the basis for a series of 2D experiments to explore the effects of variation in 1) sediment supply rate, 2) depositional style (intermittent sediment supply), and 3) the thickness of the deformable substrate on subsidence patterns and minibasin stratigraphic development. The results highlight the possible role of autogenic processes on minibasin dynamics and fill-and-spill stratigraphy.
Coevolution of mini basin subsidence and sedimentation: experiments by Bryant T. Kopriva and Wonsuck Kim