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LUGO, JAIRO, Lagoven S.A., Caracas, Venezuela, and PAUL MANN, Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas, Austin, TX

ABSTRACT: Tectonic Implications of Paleocene-Eocene Foreland Basin, Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela

A compilation of industry geological and geophysical data indicates that Paleocene-Eocene clastic sedimentation in the Maracaibo basin records the first manifestation of Cenozoic foreland basin tectonics in northern South America. Isopach maps based on industry seismic data and well logs suggest that the Maracaibo foreland basin formed a 100 to 200 km wide elongate trough along the northeastern edge of the present-day Lake Maracaibo. The basin is asymmetric with a deep (7 km) northeastern margin adjacent to an exposed southwest-verging thrust belt mapped by previous workers. Isopach mapping of seven seismic units within the Eocene suggest a nor-northwest to southeast migration of the depocenter from Paleocene to Middle Eocene time at a rate of 0.6 cm/year. A similar style of foreland asin has been previously identified over a distance of 1000 Km from western central Venezuela to Trinidad. Eocene to Pliocene ages of foreland basin sedimentation in these areas suggest time transgressive, oblique collision of the Caribbean plate along the northern margin of South America. Comparison of the age of deformation along both the northern and southern edges of the pro-Caribbean plate yield reasonable estimates for the rate of relative motion of this small plate relative to the larger America plates.

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