12 Dec 2022
12 Dec 2022

Structural control of inherited salt structures during inversion of a domino basement-fault system from an analogue modelling approach

Oriol Ferrer1,2, Eloi Carola1,2, and Ken McClay3,4 Oriol Ferrer et al.
  • 1Institut de Recerca Geomodels - UB, Facultat de Ciències de la Terra, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), C/ Martí i Franquès s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
  • 2Departament de Dinàmica de la Terra i de l´Oceà, GRC Geodinàmica i Anàlisi de Conca (GGAC), Facultat de Ciències de la Terra, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), C/ Martí i Franquès s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
  • 3Australian School of Petroleum and Energy Resources, University of Adelaide, South Australia, 5005 Australia
  • 4Earth Sciences Department, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK

Abstract. Inversion of an extensional domino-like basement faults system with a pre-extension decoupling layer is presented as a set of analogue models to understand the role of pre-existing structural features during inversion. The present study expands the experimental program by Ferrer et al. (2022a) in which, models were carried out with different salt and overburden thicknesses to investigate the role played by the salt and by the overburden during extension but also, how extensional structures and salt distribution condition the evolution during inversion. The results show that after total inversion of the models, the resultant structural style of deformation is highly influenced by the inherited extensional configuration and by the thickness of salt which they both condition the degree of coupling/decupling between the pre- and syn-kinematic successions. While models with thick salt can partially or totally preserve the extensional ramp-syncline basin geometry independently of the overburden thickness, models with thin salt result in a total inversion of the ramp-syncline basins with the development of crestal collapse grabens and extensional faults affecting the overburden. Compression triggered the development or reactivation of salt-related structures such as primary weld reactivations (i.e., reopening and/or obliteration), diapir rejuvenation, salt thickening, thrust emplacement, etc. The development of these elements is conditioned by the salt thickness distribution at the end of the extension and therefore, a precise understanding of inherited salt-related structures in needed so to understand the inversion of the basin as well as characterise the structural style.

Oriol Ferrer et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1183', Timothy Schmid, 04 Jan 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1183', Tim Dooley, 12 Jan 2023

Oriol Ferrer et al.

Oriol Ferrer et al.


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Short summary
Using an experimental approach based on scaled sandbox models, this work aims to understand how salt above different fault blocks influences the geometry and evolution of the cover first during extension and then during shortening. The results show that inherited structures constrain contractional deformation. We show for the first time how depleted salt layers are reopened during contractional deformation, having direct implications for the subsurface exploration of natural resources.