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ERIKSON, JOHAN P., Dartmouth College Dept. of Earth Sciences, Hanover, NH

ABSTRACT: Cretaceous to Eocene Passive Margin Sedimentation in Northeastern Venezuela

Twenty two palinspastic paleogeographic maps are presented for the Cretaceous to Eocene strata of the Serrania del Interior of northeastern Venezuela. The mapped lithologies, environmental conditions, and evolving depositional systems record (approx.) 90 m.y. of dominantly marine sedimentation on the only observable Mesozoic passive margin in the Western Hemisphere.

The depositional systems of the passive margin are heterogeneous at lateral (i.e., along-margin) length scales greater than (approx.) 40 km. The primary lateral heterogeneity is caused by a major Lower Cretaceous deltaic system that emanated southwest of the Serrania del Interior. All important intervals, such as the laterally variable Aptian-Albian El Cantil platform limestone and the hydrocarbon source rocks of the Upper Cretaceous Querecual and San Antonio formations, are related to probable causal mechanisms and environmental conditions. Stratigraphic events have been interpreted as of either local or regional extent, based on a combination of outcrop sedimentologic analyses and regional depositional systems interpretation. The 3-dimensional distribution of depositional systems an systems tracts reveals 4-6 regional sequence boundaries separated by 4-20 m.y..

Subsidence analyses support the facies interpretation of a passive margin by showing continuous, thermally dominated subsidence during the Cretaceous to Eocene interval. Subsidence and accumulation rates increased and facies changed significantly in the Oligocene, indicating the end of passive margin sedimentation and the initiation of foredeep subsidence and accumulation associated with overthrusting of the eastward-advancing Caribbean Plate.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90988©1993 AAPG/SVG International Congress and Exhibition, Caracas, Venezuela, March 14-17, 1993.