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Origin and Hydrocarbon Potential of the Profundo Fold Belt of the Offshore Guajira Peninsula

Ardila, Luis E.1; Diaz, Lenardo; and Erickson, Joe
1[email protected]

The Profundo Fold Belt is located in the Colombian Offshore Caribbean region, approximately 169 km west of the Cabo de la Vela in the Guajira Peninsula. It trends ENE-WSW for a distance of 300 km, in water depths ranging between 500 and 4000 meters, covering an area of approximately 60,000 A Multi-Client 2D seismic survey managed by Spectrum Geo Inc. images the geometry and extent of the Profundo Fold Belt.

 The fold belt was formed by a structural inversion of one of the extensional basins developed along the Caribbean margin, under dextral transpressional conditions, that affected the continental margin. Inversion occurred in different pulses, and is clearly illustrated by the presence of local intraformational unconformities developed throughout the fold belt. The position of the basin axis and facies distribution changed through time, both of which were controlled by different deformation stages. Significant thickness variations are observed in adjacent fault blocks, typical of structuring associated with transpression.

Three main deformational events affected the continental margin in the area, which resulted in basin inversion. The first event which was associated with accretion of micro terranes during the Paleocene and Early Eocene was followed by a transpressive event during Middle Eocene to Middle Miocene. Finally the inversion itself occurred from Middle Miocene to Pliocene. As a result of these three events, the original Cenozoic basin witnessed concomitant deposition and structural growth, which controlled the distribution of reservoir, seal and source rocks.

To summarize, the tectono-stratigraphic model defines the presence of a pull-apart basin developed by the wrenching component of transpressive conditions affecting the region. As the pull-apart basin opened, the geothermal gradient increased as the continental crust became thinner, thus favoring maturation of both Cenozoic and Mesozoic source rocks. Subsequently, hydrocarbons were generated with the possibility of charging a variety of traps. It is therefore suggested that the Profundo Fold Belt has significant exploration potential, which has so far remained unexplored. Prospecting for new hydrocarbon accumulations in the area should be conducted using new concepts developed to better understand the geologic history of the basin.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90166©2013 AAPG International Conference & Exhibition, Cartagena, Colombia, 8-11 September 2013