Mississippi Canyon - Central Gulf Geology

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What does the Central Gulf of Mexico look like, from a geological perspective?  The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has created this image which includes the Mississippi Canyon (where the Macondo Prospect, and Mississippi Canyon Well 252—also known as MS252—is located). 
Deepwater Horizon was working this well, located in the Mississippi Canyon Block, when the rig exploded on April 20, 2010.
The USGS uses a system—known as GLORIA (Geological LOng-Range Inclined Asdic)—to map what is known as the "morphology and texture of seafloor features in the deep ocean." The image seen above, from USGS, is based on data from GLORIA. 
USGS provides the following description of the Central Gulf's geology:

In the central Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi Canyon and Fan system is the dominant morphologic feature. The Sigsbee Escarpment cannot be identified because it is buried by sediments from the Mississippi Canyon. The Mississippi Canyon shows a highly reflective region on the GLORIA imagery because it is filled with debris-flow deposits.

The Mississippi Canyon shows as a highly reflective region that feeds onto the Mississippi Fan. Much of the surface of the fan comprises highly reflective deposits called depositional lobes, and these depositional lobes all seem to have been fed from a single meandering channel system that can be traced across the fan. The largest of these is a mass-wasting deposit on the middle to upper part of the fan.

The low-backscatter regions around the margins of the fan are interpreted to be fine-grained hemipelagic deposits, whereas the high-backscatter regions on the fan correspond to areas where sand has been sampled. The surface of the fan to the west of the channel has a different acoustic character than that to the east.

West of the channel the sea floor is covered by a series of southwestward-trending high-backscatter linear stripes whose origin is as yet undetermined. Detailed studies following up on the reconnaissance view provided by the GLORIA images suggest more intricate sedimentary processes than previously anticipated.

Click on the image for a better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5186stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Mar 17, 2017

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy USGS.

Quoted passage, from USGS web site on GLORIA.


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"Mississippi Canyon - Central Gulf Geology" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. May 23, 2019.
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