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Rapid Cenozoic Subsidence in the Gulf of Mexico Resulting From Hess Rise Conjugate Subduction

Wang, Huilin and Gurnis, Michael and Skogseid, Jakob (2017) Rapid Cenozoic Subsidence in the Gulf of Mexico Resulting From Hess Rise Conjugate Subduction. Geophysical Research Letters, 44 (21). pp. 10930-10938. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1002/2017GL074959.

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Enigmatic surface deflections occurred in North America starting from the Cretaceous, including the continental-scale drainage reorganization and the long-wavelength subsidence in the Western Interior Seaway. These surface undulations cannot be simply explained by sea level change or flexure loading. Coinciding with the large-scale surface deflection, the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) has an immense Paleocene sediment deposition probably caused by tectonic subsidence. Increasing evidence indicates a distinct seismic anomaly localized in the mantle below the GOM. With geodynamic models, we show that the Hess Rise conjugate coincides with the position of the seismic anomaly. The basalt-eclogite transition in the Hess conjugate can lead to a localized dynamic subsidence in the GOM, which is superimposed on the broad surface deflection caused by the Farallon slab. The Hess conjugate, transformed to eclogite, could tilt the surface southward in the U.S. and help frame the GOM as a main depocenter in the Cenozoic.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Wang, Huilin0000-0003-3061-0806
Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Skogseid, Jakob0000-0002-6817-7756
Additional Information:© 2017 American Geophysical Union. Received 17 JUL 2017; Accepted 13 OCT 2017; Accepted article online 20 OCT 2017; Published online 11 NOV 2017. We thank Jolante van Wijk and Michelle Kominz for their thoughtful comments and suggestions. H.W. and M.G. have been supported by the National Science Foundation through EAR-1358646, EAR-1600956, and EAR-1645775 and by Statoil ASA. The original CitcomS code is obtained from Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:sedimentary basin; Hess Rise conjugate; mantle convection; continental surface tilting
Issue or Number:21
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171113-095115303
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Official Citation:Wang, H., Gurnis, M., & Skogseid, J. (2017). Rapid Cenozoic subsidence in the Gulf of Mexico resulting from Hess Rise conjugate subduction. Geophysical Research Letters, 44, 10,930–10,938.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:83144
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 Nov 2017 23:07
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:55

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