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ALGAR, S. T., and J. L. PINDELL, Department of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

ABSTRACT: Plate Boundary Forces in the Vicinity of Trinidad: the Transition from Transpression to Transtension in the Southern Caribbean Plate Boundary Zones

Deformation in the southern Caribbean plate boundary zones as recorded in the Northern Range of Trinidad initiated in the Oligocene with northward vergent gravity sliding of Northern Range sediments due to uplift and oversteepening of the previously passive margin by the eastward migration of the Caribbean flexural forebulge. Progressive east-southeast transvergence of the Caribbean Plate with respect to South America overthrust and then incorporated the Northern Range sediments into the Caribbean accretionary prism, thrusting them south-southeast to produce a Middle Miocene transpressive foreland fold and thrust belt in southern Trinidad.

Late Miocene deformation within Trinidad was increasingly dominated by right-lateral strike-slop (RLSS) faulting, at the expense of transpressive compressional features. Right-stepping of RLSS motion initiated the Gulf of Paria and Caroni pull-apart basins, Since Early Pliocene these basins and other areas to the north of Trinidad have undergone north-south extension in addition to east-west trending RLSS. Such extension caused the northward withdrawal of Caribbean terranes from atop of the Northern Range, resulting in rapid isostatically induced uplift (approximately 0.5 mmyr{-1}). This change in deformation style may relate to a hitherto unrecognized shift in the relative motion of the eastern Caribbean Plate with respect to South America: from east-southeast-directed transpression o east-northeast-directed transtension.

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