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Abstract: Structural Synthesis and Tectonic Evolution of the Maracaibo and Barinas-Apure Basins, Western Venezuela

Bruno De Toni, Daniel Loureiro, Bernard Colletta, Francois Roure

Seismic profiles have imaged the complex and multiphase geometry of major structures in the Maracaibo and Barinas-Apure basins and foothills of the adjacent orogens. Pre-Mesozoic structuring can be documented in subsurface as a peneplaned south-southeast vergent fold-thrust-belt of Hercynian or Caledonian age. In Jurassic times, rifting developed in connection with the opening of western Tethys and thick continental red beds were deposited in the rift grabens. In Late Cretaceous times, postrift thermal subsidence was subsequently recorded. From Maastrichtian through Eocene times, the obduction of the Tethyan ophiolites and the coeval tectonic accretion of the Caribbean allocthon loaded the South American foreland lithosphere, inducing the development of a flexural basin i the northeastern part of the Maracaibo basin. In Late Eocene and Oligocene times, a major extensional event took place in the East Zulia and Falcon area soon after the Caribbean compressional deformation ceased. Since the Neogene, structuring was related to the Andean orogeny, and the deformation was partially superimposed onto older Paleogene and Jurassic structures. These results, integrated with geochemical and chronostratigraphic models, have been used to understand the evolution of the petroleum system and to improve the play fairway risk assessment for exploration.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90951©1996 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Caracas, Venezuela