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This study presents the results from the interpretation of an extensive and recent regional two-dimensional seismic survey focused on the understanding of the salt tectonics in the western Gulf of Cadiz (GoC). Two different salt units were identified: an autochthonous salt unit of the Late Triassic or the Early Jurassic (Hettangian) and an allochthonous unit that originated from the Hettangian salt. Interpretation of the pattern of distribution of the salt in the basin allowed subdivision of the area of study into three distinct salt domains: the eastern domain characterized by the presence of a conspicuous allochthonous salt nappe (Esperança Salt), the central domain dominated by salt diapirs with mild deformation of Miocene strata and wide salt-withdrawal minibasins, and the southwestern domain where present-day tectonics induces impressive salt deformation affecting the sea floor. This complex pattern is mainly the result of the interaction of inherited basement structure, complex tectonic history, and stress regime of the basin. The intense halokinesis observed has created several salt-related trap geometries and fluid migration pathways. As the focus of worldwide exploration along passive margins is gradually shifting to deep-water regions, the western GoC has the potential to become a deep-water petroleum province in the near future.
Hugo Matias is an exploration geophysicist at REPSOL, where he has been involved in evaluation projects in North Atlantic margins, Black Sea, and northwest Africa. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees and Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Lisbon, where he is also a senior researcher. He was formerly with Partex Oil and Gas. His research interests focus on basin analysis, with particular emphasis on salt tectonics and deep-water petroleum systems.
Pedro Kress obtained his degree in geology from the Universidad de Buenos Aires-Argentina (1989) and his Ph.D. from FU-Berlin (Germany) in 1994. He joined YPF as an undergraduate in 1985, worked in the Austral and Neuquina basins (Argentina), Espirito Santo, Campos, and Santos basins (Brazil), Spain and Global Regional Geology. He has been with YPF International Exploration Group, Buenos Aires, Argentina since 2010.
Pedro Terrinha obtained his degree in geology from the University of Lisbon, M.Sc. degree and Ph.D. in 1998 at Imperial College, United Kingdom. He has worked in rift and inversion tectonics of the Portuguese Mesozoic-Cenozoic marginal basins and neotectonics of the southwest Iberian Margin. He taught at the Universities of Evora and Lisbon and currently works as a researcher at the LNEG, Portugal.
Webster Mohriak graduated in geology from the Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil) in 1977 and received his Ph.D. in geology at Oxford University in 1988. Senior explorationist at Petrobras, he has been conducting regional basin analysis projects with special emphasis on petroleum geology and tectonic evolution of the South Atlantic sedimentary basins, with several publications on divergent conjugate margins.
Paulo T. L. Menezes received his B.Sc. degree (1986) in geology from Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), an M.Sc. degree (1990) in geophysics from Universidade Federal do Pará (UFPA), and a Ph.D. (1996) in geophysics from the National Observatory (RJ). He has been a professor at UERJ since 1997. In 2006, he joined Petrobras. His research interest is in interpretation of potential field and electromagnetic data.
Luis Matias, born in Portugal received his Ph.D. in geophysics (seismology) from the University of Lisbon. He is a researcher at the Instituto D. Luiz and professor at the Sciences Faculty of the University of Lisbon. His main research interests include seismology, marine geophysics, deep geology, seismotectonics, and natural hazards. Since 2000, he has authored and coauthored more than 25 refereed articles.
Fernando Monteiro Santos is an assistant professor at the University of Lisbon. He received his Ph.D. (1994) on geophysics from the University of Lisbon. His research interests are focused mainly on applied geophysics using electromagnetic methods and also in inverse problems.
Frode Sandnes is vice-president for business development at Fortis Petroleum. He received his M.Sc. degree in petroleum geosciences from the Norwegian Institute of Technology. Sandnes has 32 yr of experience in the international oil industry from positions including business development advisor (Bayerngas Norge AS), vice president business development (Genesis Petroleum Corporation Plc), chief geologist (TGS-Nopec Europe), and general manager (Saga Petroleum, Jakarta).