Stratigraphic and structural analysis of the Neogene sediments of the offshore portion of the Salina del Istmo Basin, southeastern Mexico
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Southeastern México has been affected by regional and local tectonic events. Regional tectonic events are the Gulf of México opening and the lateral movement of micro-plates on the Pacific margin. The local tectonic events are related to salt tectonics. Autochthonous Jurassic salt serves as the detachment level for the main compressional event in the late Miocene. Jurassic salt was allochthonously emplaced in the late Miocene, then partially displaced by a huge quantity of terrigenous sediments during the Plio-Pleistocene. This research is a study of the main geological processes that have influenced the structural and stratigraphic evolution of the Neogene sediments in the offshore portion of the Salina del Istmo basin known as the Marbella area. Owing to data availability, the project was divided into regional and local studies. The regional study is based on 2D multi-channel seismic reflection data, and the local study is based on a 3D seismic streamer survey. Structural analysis in the regional study permits the recognition of four buried fold belts (Agua Dulce, Catemaco, Marbella, and Marbella Norte) trending roughly NE. These fold belts are the result of tectonic convergence in the pacific margin during late Miocene. The Agua Dulce and Marbella Norte fold belts are separated by an enormous salt withdrawal basin called the Pescadores basin. The Pescadores basin is bounded on the north by a spectacular stepped, counterregional structure. Beyond the Pescadores basin, a salt mini-basin area is recognized in the upper continental slope. Another important structural element is the Sal Somera canopy in the southern part of the study area. Sedimentation-rate analysis, based on isochore mapping in the local study area, indicates that from SB-2.4 to SB-2.6 Ma, deposition rate peaked with a maximum of 7.5 mm/yr. Regional and local structural restorations show that, in general, the maximum allochthonous salt mobilization was during the Plio-Pleistocene because of the huge quantity of sediments that the Chiapas massif and the Sierra de Chiapas supplied to the basin. A geohistory plot indicates rapid basin deepening at 2.4 to 2.6 Ma, which is attributed to a major influx of sediments and allochthonous salt evacuation.