Tectonic and thermal history of the western Serrania del Interior foreland fold and thrust belt and Guarico Basin, north central Venezuela: Implications of new apatite fission track analysis and seismic interpretation
Perez De Armas, Jaime Gonzalo
Avé Lallemant, Hans G.
Doctor of Philosophy
Structural analysis, interpretation of seismic reflection lines, and apatite fission-track analysis in the Western Serrania del Interior fold and thrust belt and in the Guarico basin of north-central Venezuela indicate that the area underwent Mesozoic and Tertiary-to-Recent deformation. Mesozoic deformation, related to the breakup of Pangea, resulted in the formation of the Espino graben in the southernmost portion of the Guarico basin and in the formation of the Proto-Caribbean lithosphere between the diverging North and South American plates. The northern margin of Venezuela became a northward facing passive margin. Minor normal faults formed in the Guarico basin. The most intense deformation took place in the Neogene when the Leeward Antilles volcanic island arc collided obliquely with South America. The inception of the basal foredeep unconformity in the Late Eocene-Early Oligocene marks the formation of a perisutural basin on top of a buried graben system. It is coeval with minor extension and possible reactivation of Cretaceous normal faults in the Guarico basin. It marks the deepening of the foredeep. Cooling ages derived from apatite fission-tracks suggest that the obduction of the fold and thrust belt in the study area occurred in the Late Oligocene through the Middle Miocene. Field data and seismic interpretations suggest also that contractional deformation began during the Neogene, and specifically during the Miocene. The most surprising results of the detrital apatite fission-track study are the ages acquired in the sedimentary rocks of the easternmost part of the study area in the foreland fold and thrust belt. They indicate an Eocene thermal event. This event may be related to the Eocene NW-SE convergence of the North and South American plates that must have caused the Proto-Caribbean lithosphere to be shortened. This event is not related to the collision of the arc with South America, as the arc was far to the west during the Eocene.
Geology; Geophysics; Geochemistry