Timothy F. Lawton1,
Katherine A. Giles1
(1) New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Abstract: Comparisons and contrasts in the tectonic evolution of two of North America's great petroleum provinces
Alaska's North Slope and Eastern Mexico's Golden Lane-Poza Rica trend have similar geologic histories that suggest a correlation of collisional tectonics with development of giant petroleum provinces. The general sequence of events in both provinces was: (1) microplate rifting; (2) collision with an oceanic arc terrane; (3) thrust belt development and combined flexural-isostatic uplift of the microplate's distal flank to create a regional migration path; (4) burial of the uptilted margin by orogen-derived clastics to form a seal. In Alaska, Early Cretaceous collision of a north-facing oceanic volcanic arc with the southern flank of the Arctic Alaska plate overlapped in time with rifting of the northern margin of the plate. Subsequent north-vergent, Early Cretaceous-Tertiary thrusting of Paleozoic miogeoclinal and eugeoclinal strata formed the Colville foredeep and Barrow arch, the uptilted plate edge that hosts North Slope oilfields. Northward-prograding Cretaceous strata sealed and sourced reservoir strata on the arch.
In the Mexican instance, the Early Cretaceous El Abra reef system occupies the eastern edge of a faulted, north-trending continental microplate created by Jurassic rifting and opening of the Gulf of Mexico. Neocomian collision of the oceanic Guerrero arc with the microplate's west side and subsequent thrusting of the Sierra Madre Oriental orogen loaded and tilted the block. Oligocene clastics derived from the uplifted Sierra Madre buried and sealed the exposed reef, which was charged from Jurassic source rocks located in both the Tampico-Misantla foredeep and Gulf of Mexico.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana