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JAMES, K. H., and S. M. RIGBY, no affiliation given

ABSTRACT: Mesozoic-Early Paleogene Paleogeography of Venezuela/Trinidad and its Implications for Caribbean/South America Plate Interaction

We present paleogeographic reconstructions illustrating Jurassic-Early Late Cretaceous passive margin development along northern South America, followed by Late Cretaceous-Middle Eocene convergence between the Caribbean and South America plates. The maps support the model of in situ origin of the Caribbean Plate.

To construct the map's information from northern allochthonous units was combined with that from autochthonous units in the south. Allochthons comprise olistostromes, within upper Cretaceous-lower Paleogene flysch deposits, and upper Jurassic-lower Cretaceous metasediments in the Caribbean Mountains. In addition, northward tectonic escape of the Maracaibo Block and shortening resulting from plate collision were restored.

The Late Cretaceous-Middle Eocene climax of Caribbean-South America plate collision was coeval from western Venezuela to Trinidad. Shortening juxtaposed rocks of disparate origins. However, the association of oceanic/volcanic elements with shelf deposits shows that the former were related to opening of the Caribbean and development of the Mesozoic passive margin of northern South America rather than originating in the Pacific. Since the late Eocene, plate interaction has been eastward migrating, dextral relative movement.

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