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Structural features and formation conditions of mud diapirs in the Andaman Sea Basin

  • WENGANG HE (a1) (a2) and JIANXUN ZHOU (a1)


Data from offshore oil and gas explorations have revealed that mud diapirs occur widely not only at continental margins but also in foreland basins and may have played an important role in the entrapment of oil and gas. Although the structural features and formation mechanism of salt diapirs have been extensively investigated, mud diapirs are still not fully understood, largely due to the difficulty of identifying them from seismic data. In this paper, the structural features and main controlling factors of mud diapirs in the Andaman Sea Basin are investigated based on seismic profiles combined with drilling data and regional tectonic settings. The results show that there are five types of mud diapir in the Andaman Sea Basin: turtleback mud diapir, mud dome, piercing mud diapir, mud volcano and gas chimney-like mud diapir. Turtleback mud diapirs mainly occur in the southern segment of the accretionary wedge of the Andaman Sea Basin, which is far from the Bengal Fan and characterized by low deposition rate and strong compression tectonic setting. Piercing mud diapirs exist mainly in the central segment of the accretionary wedge, which is close to provenances of sediments and characterized by rapid sedimentation rates, large mudstone thickness and transpressional tectonic setting. Mud domes and mud volcanoes mainly occur in the northern segment of the accretionary wedge, which is characterized by rapid sedimentation rates, large mudstone thickness and sedimentary wedge growth tectonic setting. The gas chimney-like mud diapirs only occur in the northern segment of the back-arc depression close to the Sagaing strike-slip fault belt, which is characterized by high deposition rate, large mudstone thickness and high geothermal gradient. These features suggest that thick mudstone deposit, rapid sedimentation rates, large geothermal gradient, strong tectonic stress and gravitational spreading and sliding may have prompted the formation of mud diapirs in the Andaman Sea Basin.


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