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2007 27th Annual GCSSEPM Foundation Bob F. Perkins Research Conference

"The Paleogene of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Basins: Processes, Events, and Petroleum Systems"

December 2-5, 2007, Houston, Texas

The “Paleogene” encompasses critical components of petroleum systems around the world. In addition to the traditional components of source, reservoir, seal, trap and timing of maturation, numerous broader scale phenomena affect petroleum systems that are unique and characteristic to the Paleogene, especially in certain locations. The Paleogene of the Gulf of Mexico and northern South America are certainly two such locations: recent exploration efforts suggest that the Paleogene of the Gulf and circum-Caribbean regions will provide major exploration trends in the near future. This is certainly true for the deep-water continental slope and rise settings of the Gulf, but it is also true for the circum-Gulf shelf margins as well as for circum-Caribbean epi-sutural basins and foreland basins.

With regard to the Gulf of Mexico, Cenozoic halokinesis has obscured the early relationships between the offshore (deep) and the on-/nearshore (shelf) Paleogene to the point where accurate regional syntheses of the depositional and structural systems have remained elusive, and primary uncertainties remain about the mechanisms controlling the relationships of certain paleogeographic elements. What is the latest on the age and correlatability on the early Paleogene canyons? How did the canyons control deposition of the “Whopper” sands in the deep Gulf? How are we viewing the viability of the Paleogene water level drawdown/dessication hypothesis at this point? How did the Gulf respond, both depositionally and structurally, to Chicxulub? What was the paleogeography of the Gulf rim prior to halokinesis? How real are the continuing indications that sediment was supplied at least locally from the south?

Regarding the circum-Caribbean, plate displacements have made it necessary for Paleogene geometries and events to be reconstructed through the veil of Neogene evolution. What is the crust structure of the Caribbean-South American interface? Was there a Paleogene plate boundary along northern South America that controlled sedimentation patterns prior to Caribbean diachronous-oblique collision? Can we reconstruct known, but offset, Paleogene depocenters such as the Matatere of Falcon, the Angostura of Trinidad, the Scotland of Barbados, or the early fills of Grenada and Tobago basins, with the paleo-Great River systems that once fed them?