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Geodynamic and Landscape Evolution of the PalaeoTethys and NeoTethys from the Jurassic to Recent

Lauren Raynham, Amanda Galsworthy, Paul Markwick, Dorothea Eue, Robert Bailiff, Richard Howe, Edward Burrows, Catherine Hill, and Laura Wilson

The geodynamic and landscape evolution of the Tethys has been reconstructed through plate modelling and palaeogeography for 43 stages from the Jurassic (200Ma) to Recent. This is important in order to understand the distribution and juxtaposition of tectonics and depositional systems across North Africa, southern Europe and Central Asia, which dictate exploration prospectively.

This is a very complex area defined by numerous small plates, which have undergone multiple tectonic phases and regimes. Changes in plate geometries and timing of events remain controversial. We have approached this problem by first building a structural framework on which we base the initial plate modelling experiments. This includes a detailed evaluation and interpretation of remote sensing data, gravity and magnetic anomalies and derivatives, isochrons and palaeomagnetic data. Kinematics are assessed through interrogation of the literature as well as modelling experiments.

The plate model and structural dataset then provide the basis for the palaeoenvironmental (GDE, Gross Depositional Environment) and tectonic mapping. Our underlying paradigm is the representation of contemporary base-level, with areas of deposition (below base-level), and areas subjected to erosion (areas above base-level or tectonophysiographic terranes). Geological data collated from our extensive wells and outcrop database are rotated and plotted on basemaps. Insights from this process are then fed back into the plate model to refine this further. The final maps are then used as the basis for constructing palaeodrainage and palaeoDEMs, which explicitly show source to sink relationships across the region, key for understanding reservoir quality and composition. These maps are then used as the boundary conditions for more advanced models, including climate, ocean, tide and lithofacies predictions.

We will show key stages from the Jurassic, Cretaceous and Cenozoic periods to illustrate the methodologies and results of this study.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90161©2013 AAPG European Regional Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 8-10 April 2013