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Tertiary Provenance and Infilling Evolution of the Veracruz Basin, Mexico


Tertiary Provenance and Infilling Evolution of the Veracruz Basin, Mexico

Ricardo Torres-Vargas, Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo

Martín Martínez-Medrano, Pemex Exploración y Producción

Ulises Hernandez-Romano, Pemex Exploración y Producción

The Veracruz Basin represents a foreland basin developed during post Laramide, thrusting during Tertiary times; is located along the south margin of the Gulf of Mexico and it is bounded, on the west by the Sierra Madre Oriental (Sierra Zongolica) fold-thrust belt, on the north by the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB), on the south by the Saline Basin, and to the east by Los Tuxtlas Volcanic Complex.

Platform incised canyon infilling, basin floor fans and channel complexes represent the main sedimentary units of economic interest for petroleum exploration in the basin. West to east represents the main sedimentologic trend during most of the Neogene, with minors SE-NW trend during Lower Miocene and a NW-SE tendency during Upper Miocene times.

About 750 petrographic studies performed mainly in Neogene sandstones from Lower Miocene to the Pleistocene units, show different provenances for those sediments. Four main compositional families were identified in the basin, 1) calclithites with a metamorphic component westward, 2) calclithites and volcanic litharenites in the north; 3) quartz and metamorphic rich calclithites toward the south, and 4) quartz rich calclithites to the east. This spread in compositions shows a main sedimentary component coming from the Sierra de Zongolica throughout all of the basin during Neogene times; with local contributions from the Transmexican Volcanic Belt in the north of the basin; a metamorphic and plutonic input from the Mixtequita Complex, mainly towards the south and east of the basin, and minor provenance contribution is identified coming from the Los Tuxtas Volcanic Complex, which is restricted only to the east.

Compositional analyses show changes from pure litharenitic (sedimentary rich) on the Lower Miocene units toward a more mixed (sedimentary, plutonic and methamorfic) during late Lower Miocene time. Middle and Upper Miocene is represented by a large input of methamorfic fragments coming from the south and the uppermost Miocene units are bimodal in composition with calclithites and quartz rich calclithites.

Calclitithes and quartz or metamorphic rich calclithites represent contrasting reservoirs qualities, when the later are significantly better reservoirs.