Tectonic Inheritance, Crustal Architecture and Contrasting Structural Styles along the Northern and Southern Andean Flanks, Venezuela
Bernard Colletta, Francois Roure, Bruno de Toni, Daniel
Loureiro, Herminio Passalacqua, and Yves Gou
Regional seismic profiles, exploration wells, geological maps and field studies image contrasting structural styles of the northern and southern flank of the Venezuelan Andes.
In the north, a flexural basin developed in Neogene times between the Andes and the Maracaibo Lake. North verging thrusts are mainly detached in the pre-Cretaceous substratum and form a deeply buried antiformal stack, whereas secondary decollement levels occur either in the Lower Cretaceous or in the Tertiary, accounting for the passive roof thrusting of the frontal triangle zone. In the south, the Barinas Basin can hardly be compared with a flexural basin. It is largely dominated by basement involved structures, either north- or south-verging. Tectonic inheritance is obvious, as Paleogene normal faults have been locally inverted, and early Caribbean nappes (Paleogene structures) are frequently reactivated or refolded by younger oblique Andean (Neogene) structures.
Two crustal scale balanced sections which have been constrained by an inversion of the gravimetric data indicate that the Present relief of sections is directly inherited from the Jurassic (Tethyan) rifting event. The southern low land results from the structural inversion of Jurassic extensional structures (thin initial crust), whereas the northern culmination relates to newly created Andean structures (thick Jurassic crust). The Hercynian thrusts trend more or less parallels to the younger structures, especially Mesozoic extensional ones which could thus partially result from the negative inversion (collapse) of the Paleozoic edifice.
AAPG Search and Discover Article #91019©1996 AAPG Convention and Exhibition 19-22 May 1996, San Diego, California