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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Imaginary Tsunamis, “Flood Debris,” and Crater in the Gulf of Mexico

Imaginary Tsunamis, “Flood Debris,” and Crater in the Gulf of Mexico

In the thread “obvious single event continental flood debris
edge 1 km thick in Gulf of Mexico from S Texas to W Florida:
Rich Murray 2012.02.09” at
http://six.pairlist.net/pipermail/meteorite-list/2012-February/083341.html
Rich Murray wrote,

“Thanks for pointed criticism and leads.

If you choose, you could start exploring the many hints
of major anomalies re the Gulf of Mexico Holocene geology --

here I add !!! to indicate some candidates:
http://www.gulfbase.org/facts.php "

If a person explores the web page, “General Facts about
the Gulf of Mexico,” at the above URL and actually reads
what is published in the scientific literature about the
Gulf of Mexico, there exists nothing in the above web
page, which can be considered anomalous. As clearly
documented in the published literature, none of Rich's
candidates marked by “!!!” show any evidence as seen
in thousands of kilometers of seismic lines and from
samples, cores, and logs from thousands of cores and
drillholes of being either “flood debris” or having been
deposited by a single catastrophic event. All of Rich's “!!!”
candidates, his completely imaginary anomalies, and
the existence of continental flood debris edge 1 km
thick underlying the Gulf of Mexico are readily refuted
by decades published research. Rich’s “obvious single
event continental flood debris edge 1 km thick in Gulf
of Mexico from S Texas to W Florida” is quite obviously
a figment of his imagination. A summary of the published
literature that refutes his claims can be found in:

Anderson, J. B., and R. H. Fillon, 2004, Late Quaternary
Stratigraphic Evolution of the Northern Gulf of Mexico
Margin. SEPM Special Publication no. 79, Society for
Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Buster, N. A., C. W. Holmes, 2011, Gulf of Mexico Origin,
Waters, and Biota: Volume 3, Geology (Harte Research
Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies Series) Texas AM
University, College Station,Texas.

Galloway, W. E., 2009, Depositional evolution of the Gulf of
Mexico sedimentary basin, In A. D. Miall, ed., pp. 505-549,
The Sedimentary Basins of the United States and Canada.
Elsevier, New York.

Salvador, A., 1991, The Gulf of Mexico Basin. Geological
Society of America, The Geology of North America, Boulder,
Colorado.

Suter, J.R., and H. L. Berryhill, Jr., 1985, Late Quaternary
shelf-margin deltas, northwest Gulf of Mexico. American
Association of Petroleum Geologists, Bulletin vol. 69, no. 1,
pp. 77-91.

For example, part of one of Rich’s “!!!” candidates for his
imaginary "flood debris" is the Mississippi Cone in;

“This portion of the Gulf of Mexico contains the Sigsbee
Deep and can be further divided into the continental rise,
the Sigsbee Abyssal Plain, and the Mississippi Cone. Located
between the Sigsbee escarpment and the Sigsbee Abyssal
Plain, the continental rise is composed of sediments
transported to the area from the north. !!!”

There is more than enough research to completely refute
any idea that the Mississippi Cone, which is outdated
terminology for what is now called by Earth scientists as
the “Mississippi Fan,” consists of “continental flood debris”
from a single catastrophic event. It is well documented
the Mississippi Fan (so-called “Mississippi Cone”) “is a
large, mud-dominated submarine fan over 4 km thick,
deposited in the deep Gulf of Mexico during the late
Pliocene and Pleistocene.” The accumulation of the
Sediments that comprise the Mississippi Fan occurred
During 17 separate and distinct intervals, which were
separated by periods of extremely slow pelagic
sedimentation. The last period of rapid sediment
deposition within the Mississippi Fan by turbidites
started during the falling and maximum relative lowstand
stages of sea level of the last glacial period over 25,000
years ago and ended about 12,000 to 11,000 years ago.
During the past 11,000 years only 10 to 25 cm of
foraminifera ooze has accumulated as pelagic
sedimentation. There is a complete lack of any "flood
debris" from a single catastrophic tsunami. This is all
discussed and documented in great detail in:

Bouma, A. H., J. M. Coleman, and A. W. Meyer, 1986, Initial
reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, Leg 96: Washington,
D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 824 p.

Kastens, K. A., and A. N. Shor, 1985, Depositional Processes
of a Meandering Channel on Mississippi Fan. American
Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. vol. 69, no. 2,
pp. 190-202.

Kolla, V., and M. A. Perlmutter, 1993, Timing of Turbidite
Sedimentation on the Mississippi Fan. American Association
of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. vol. 77, no. 7, pp. 1129-1141.

Weimer, P., 1989, Sequence stratigraphy of the Mississippi
fan (Plio-Pleistocene), Gulf of Mexico. Geo-Marine Letters
vol.9, no. 4, pp. 185-272.

Weimer, P., 1990, Sequence Stratigraphy, Facies Geometries,
and Depositional History of the Mississippi Fan, Gulf of
Mexico. American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Bulletin. vol. 74, no. 4, pp. 425-453.

In addition, Rich reposted from Wikipedia a short comment
about the idea that the Gulf of Mexico is an impact crater as
briefly proposed by Stanton (2002). In part, Rich reposted:

“In 2002 geologist Michael Stanton published a speculative
essay suggesting an impact origin for the Gulf of Mexico at
the close of the Permian, which could have caused the
Permian–Triassic extinction event.[13]…” from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Mexico

In response to that article I submitted to the next edition of the
SEIS database the below text.

“Stanton (2002, nd) argues that the Gulf of Mexico quite likely
is an impact crater. According to Stanton (nd), his interpretation
is based upon the “saucier-like” morphology of the Gulf of
Mexico, impact metamorphism of Paleozoic rocks, “down to
basinal grabens,” uplifting of Moho as a central
uplift within the Gulf of Mexico, and tectonics of the Ouachita
region. Stanton (nd) proposes that the Paleozoic metamorphic
rocks found in the Ouachita trend are “melt rocks” created by
“shock metamorphism” associated with a Gulf of Mexico
asteroid impact. Unfortunately, these arguments reply on
older, even outdated and antiquated, published research
about the geology of the Gulf of Mexico. They fail to include
more recent significant research published prior to 2002 that
contests, even soundly refutes, how the evidence for a Gulf
of Mexico impact crater is interpreted.

The interpretations offered by Stanton (2002, nd) of the
evidence discussed for an asteroid impact creating the Gulf
of Mexico is either contradicted or refuted by an enormous
and overwhelming amount of published research. As
summarized by Viele et al. (1989), Nichlas et al. (1989) and
other peer-reviewed publications, over a century of research
into the Ouachita trend and orogeny demonstrates that neither
the deformation and metamorphism of their Paleozoic rocks
can be explain by a hypervelocity impact nor are these
metamorphic rocks any sort of impact “melt rocks.” In addition,
enough is known about the structure of the crust underlying
the Gulf of Mexico to disprove the idea that a central uplift
underlies the Gulf of Mexico. Instead it is clearly underlain by
oceanic crust created by sea-floor spreading (Galloway 2008,
Salvador et al. 1999, Sawyer et al. 1991). As discussed by
various studies, i.e. Galloway (2008), Harry and London
(2004), Mickus et al. (2009), and Sawyer et al. (1991), the
“down to basin and basinal grabens” and other structures
of the Gulf of Mexico are result of rifting and salt tectonics
instead of an asteroid impact. Finally, as shown by numerous
studies, i.e. Dickinson and Lawton (2001) and Mickus et al.
(2009), plate tectonics provide an adequate explanation for
the formation of the Gulf of Mexico (Galloway 2008). Overall
there is a striking lack of credible evidence that supports the
impact origin of the Gulf of Mexico given the magnitude of
the impact needed to create an impact crater as large as the
Gulf of Mexico.

References Cited

Dickinson, W. R., and T. F. Lawton, 2001, Carboniferous to
Cretaceous assembly and fragmentation of Mexico. Geological
Society of America Bulletin. v. 113, no. 9, pp. 1142–1160.

Galloway, W. E., 2008, Depositional evolution of the Gulf
of Mexico sedimentary basin, in K.J. Hsu, ed., pp. 505-549,
The Sedimentary Basins of the United States and Canada,
Sedimentary Basins of the World. v. 5, Elsevier, The
Netherlands.

Harry, D. L., and J. London, 2004, Structure and evolution
of the central Gulf of Mexico continental margin and coastal
plain, southeast United States. Geological Society of America
Bulletin. v. 116, no. 1-2, pp. 188-199.

Mickus, K., R. J. Stern, G. R. Keller, and E. Y. Anthony, 2009,
Potential field evidence for a volcanic rifted margin along
the Texas Gulf Coast. Geology. v. 37, no. 5, pp. 387-390.

Nicholas, R. L., and D. E. Waddell, 1989, The Ouachita
system in the subsurface of Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana,
in R. D. Hatcher, Jr., W. A. Thomas, and G. W. Viele, eds.,
pp. 661-672, The Appalachian-Ouachita Orogen in the
United States: The Geology of North America, v. F-2. Geological
Society of America, Boulder, Colorado.

Salvador, A., 1991, Origin and development of the Gulf of
Mexico basin. in A. Salvador, ed., p. 389-444, The Gulf of
Mexico Basin: The Geology of North America, v. J., Geological
Society of America, Boulder, Colorado.

Sawyer, D. S., R. T. Buffler, and R. H. Pilger, Jr., 1991, The crust
under the Gulf of Mexico basin, in A. Salvador, ed., pp. 53-72,
The Gulf of Mexico Basin: The Geology of North America, v. J.,
Geological Society of America, Boulder, Colorado.

Stanton, M. S., 2002, Is the Gulf's Origin Heaven Sent? AAPG
Explorer (December 2002), American Association of
Petroleum Geologists. Tulsa Oklahoma.

Online at
http://www.aapg.org/explorer/2002/12dec/gom_impact.cfm

Stanton, M. S., nd, Is the Gulf's Origin Heaven Sent? (PDF and
abridged version of Stanton (2002)) American Association
of Petroleum Geologists. Tulsa Oklahoma.

PDF file available from
http://www.aapg.org/explorer/2002/12dec/gom_impact.pdf

Viele, G. W., and Thomas, W. A., 1989, Tectonic synthesis of the
Ouachita orogenic belt, in R. D. Hatcher, Jr., W. A. Thomas, and
G. W. Viele, eds., pp. 695-728, The Appalachian-Ouachita
Orogen in the United States: The Geology of North America,
v. F-2. Geological Society of America, Boulder, Colorado.”

I have to wonder what the editors were thinking when they
approved Stanton’s comical example of Reimold (2007)’s impact
crater bandwagon for publication in the AAPG Explorer.

For more examples of the impact crater bandwagon, go see:

Reimold, W. U., 2007, The Impact Crater Bandwagon (Some
problems with the terrestrial impact cratering record)
Meteoritics & Planetary Science. vol. 42, no. 9, pp. 1467-1472.

Finally, Rich listed:

“LATE QUATERNARY STRATIGRAPHIC EVOLUTION OF THE
NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO MARGIN John B. Anderson
and Richard H. Fillon, Editors”

I am totally baffled why this book, of which I have a personal
copy of at work, is listed Anyone, who would take the time
look through it, would find that each of the chapters that is
listed in Rich’s post completely demolishes as imaginary any
idea of there being an “obvious single event continental
flood debris edge 1 km thick in Gulf of Mexico from S Texas
to W Florida.”

For example, one chapter of this book, Wellner et al. (2004),
provides a detail summary of the stratigraphy and geology
of the Louisiana and Texas continental shelf. Their analysis
is based upon samples and log descriptions from 358 platform
borings, thousands of kilometers of siesmic lines, and previous
research by Sidner et al. (1978), Lewis (1984), Suter and
Berryhill (1985), and Suter (1987). Wellner et al. (2004)
clearly demonstrates beyond all shadow of a doubt the
imaginary nature of the “flood debris” underlying this part
of the Gulf of Mexico. What Wellner et al. (2004) and the
previous research that they summarize shows is that the
continental shelf of this part of the Gulf of Mexico consists
of a thin veneer of Holocene marine sediments underlain
by Late Pleistocene shelf edge and shelf-phase delta and
fluvial sediments filling valleys deeply entrenched into
the deltaic sediments.

References,

Lewis, D., 1984, Pleistocene seismic stratigraphy of the
Galveston South Addition, offshore Texas. Unpublished
M.S. thesis, Rice University, Houston, Texas, 152 pp.

Sidner, B. R., S. Gartner, S., and W. R. Bryant, 1978, Late
Pleistocene geologic history of Texas outer continental
shelf and upper slope, in A. H., Bouma, G. T. Moore, and
J. M. Coleman, eds., pp. 243-266, Framework,Facies and
Oil-Trapping Characteristics of the Upper Continental
Margin. Studies in Geology no. 7, American Association
of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Suter, J. R. 1987, Late quaternary facies and sea level history,
southwest Louisiana continental shelf. Unpublished Ph.D.
dissertation, Department of Geology, Louisiana State
University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 225 pp.

Suter, J.R., and H. L. Berryhill, Jr., 1985, Late Quaternary
shelf-margin deltas, northwest Gulf of Mexico. American
Association of Petroleum Geologists, Bulletin vol. 69, no. 1,
pp. 77-91.

Wellner, J. S., S. Sarzalego, M. Lagoe, and J. B. Anderson, 2004,
Late Quaternary stratigraphic evolution of the west
Louisiana-east Texas continental shelf. in J. B. Anderson and
R. H. Fillon, eds., pp. 217-235, Late Quaternary Stratigraphic
Evolution of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Margin. SEPM
Special Publication no. 79, Society for Sedimentary Geology,
Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Best wishes,

Paul H.

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