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GEORGE, RICHARD P., JR., EGEP Consultores, Caracas, Venezuela, and RICHARD H. SAMS, Sams Exploration, Inc., Canyon Lake, TX

ABSTRACT: Eastern Venezuela Basin's Post-Jurassic Evolution as a Passive Transform Margin Basin

Passive transform margins are segments of rifted continental margins bounded by transform faults that are active during rifting and that become inactive during drifting. Examples include the northern coast of Brazil and its matching margin along the Liberia-Nigeria coast.

We propose that the northern margin of the Eastern Venezuela Basin was dominantly a passive transform margin during the Cretaceous and early Paleogene, rather than a purely passive margin. Published microplate reconstructions of the southern Caribbean show Jurassic separation of the Bahamas platform from northern South America along a northwest-trending transform fault postulated to lie just northeast of Trinidad and the Guianas. We conjecture that the "Deflexion de Barcelona" (a northwest-trending zone of strike slip faults along the southwestern edge of the Serrania del Interior) is controlled by a basement geofracture that is the onshore expression of a Jurassic transform fault southwest of and subparallel to the southwestern Bahamas transform.

Implications of this conjecture for the Eastern Venezuela Basin include: (1) absence of McKenzie-type regional crustal stretching, Mesozoic thermal anomaly, and Mesozoic thermal-tectonic subsidence; (2) abrupt rather than gradual seaward changes in crustal thickness; (3) abrupt lateral changes in thickness and facies of Mesozoic sediments, as in the Piaui-Ceara basins of northern Brazil; (4) tendency for structural styles developed during Neogene compression to include more strike-slip faults and en echelon fold sets (because of reactivation of Mesozoic transforms) than would be expected by structural inversion of a purely passive margin.

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