Datapages, Inc.Print this page

Abstract: Control of Salt Tectonics by Young Basement Tectonics in Brazil's Offshore Basins

Peter Szatmari, Webster Mohriak

The Campos basin (offshore SE Brazil) is one of the most successful areas of oil exploration in South America. Discovered 20 years ago, its production (500,000 b/d) and reserves (2.9 billion barrels) are second only to Venezuela's. This richness is due, to a large extent, to intense salt tectonics and the abundance of turbidites. Reactivated basement structures onshore provide a unique opportunity to understand the role of young basement tectonics in controlling salt tectonics and petroleum occurrence. The mountains of SE Brazil, over 1500 m high, formed by the thrust and wrench zones under E-W compression, presumably caused by Mid-Atlantic ridge push. Coastal mountain ranges, up to 3000 m high, are limited to the segment of the Atlantic between the Vitoria- Trindade hots ot chain and the Rio Grande Rise. The coastal ranges formed as this segment of oceanic crust and adjacent continental margin were pushed WSW along a reactivated Precambrian wrench zone. To the north of this segment, salt tectonics is mostly due to basinward sliding on a tilted salt layer. Along the coastal ranges, to this is added basinward escape of the salt from beneath prograding sediments derived from the rising mountains. Extension above the salt tends to be compensated by compression farther basinward. Salt canopies, frequent in the Gulf of Mexico, occur only near the Abrolhos hotspot, where high temperatures during volcanic activity sharply reduced the viscosity of the salt.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90956©1995 AAPG International Convention and Exposition Meeting, Nice, France