The Global Laramide Orogeny and its Influence on Cretaceous and Paleogene Petroleum Systems of the Caribbean Plate and its Contiguous Continental Plates
Steven L. Getz
Geoscience Consultant, Getz Exploration Consultants Inc.
Laramide mobile zone folding, cratonic uplift, and/or continental rifting occurred in North and South America, Western Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, as well as the northern margin of 'Greater India', the latter of which produced a ubiquitous middle Paleocene basal foreland unconformity surface that spans the continental suture zone in 'Greater' India. Uplifts associated with Laramide-aged mobile zones and cratonic uplifts led to karst enhancement of Cretaceous and older carbonate reservoirs in some areas (e.g., Golden Lane field, Mexico and Renqui field, China), and instigated widespread continental-plate-margin regressions that resulted in extensive sandstone reservoir deposition on: continental shelves (e.g., the Wilcox Group of the USA and Mexican Gulf Coast, as well as the Misoa, lower Mirador, Barco/Cacho, and uppermost Monserrate Fms of Venezuela and Colombia), and in deep water environments where the oil and gas-bearing Laramide-aged slope sandstones were deposited (e.g., the Chicontepec and distal Wilcox, English North Sea, and some Rovuma basin sands. This seemingly global distribution of Laramide reservoirs suggests that a major lower Paleogene deep-water sandstone HC play should exist along the Caribbean/South American common plate margin; and, a major karsted upper-Mesozoic oil play could exist in carbonate reservoirs along the northeastern margins of the Caribbean plate in the vicinity of the Bahamas, Cuba, and possibly even the Dominican Republic.
Uplift, folding and faulting associated with Laramide movements has led to the formation of world class giant oil and gas fields such as: East Texas and Salt Creek oilfields (USA); Golden Lane and Poza Rica oilfields (Mexico); oilfields in Venezuela and Colombia, Groningen gas field (Netherlands), as well as Burgan (Kuwait), Ghawar (Saudi Arabia), and North/South Pars mega-giant gas field (UAE/Iran) within the Persian Gulf. Many of these Laramide giant oil and gas traps developed a stratigraphic component during the preceding middle Cretaceous Nevadan movement series that became critical when Laramide folding occurred (e.g., East Texas oilfield and the North/South Pars gas field). Late Maastrichtian-to-Recent downwarping and thick clastic deposition have since led to the expulsion of oil and gas from Silurian through Paleogene source rocks, as well the upward and lateral movement of expulsed petroleum into Laramide-aged traps.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90203 © AAPG Geoscience Technology Workshop, Trinidad and Tobago Deep Horizon and Deep Water Frontier Exploration in Latin America and the Caribbean, March 9-11, 2014, Port of Spain, Trinidad