Tectonostratigraphic evolution of the northeastern Maturin foreland basin, Venezuela
MetadataShow full item record
The study uses subsidence analysis of three deep wells to basement combined with sequence stratigraphic mapping to show that a 85,000 km² area of the Eastern Venezuelan foreland basin in the region of the Orinoco Delta underwent three main stages of foreland-related subsidence that followed a protracted Cretaceous - late Oligocene period of precollisional, passive margin formation. Phase 1 consists of increased foreland basin subsidence in the late Oligocene to middle Miocene (23 - 13 Ma) at average sedimentation rates of 0.14 mm/yr. Clastic rocks of Phase 1 include the Freites Formation, a 1.2 km-thick section of greenish-gray fissile shale and shaly sandstone deposited in shallow marine- neritic environments. Seismic facies show progradation of Phase 1 clastic rocks as a wedge from the NE and NNE. Clastic rocks deposited during the accelerated Phase 2 in the middle to late Miocene (13 -11 Ma at sedimentation rates of 1.45 mm/yr) include the La Pica Formation, a 2.7 km-thick section of gray silt and fine-grained sandstone deposited in shallow marine/coastal proximal environments. Seismic facies show progradation of Phase 2 clastic rocks as a wedge to the northeast. Phase 3 consists of decelerating foreland basin subsidence in the period of late Miocene-mid Pliocene (11-6 Ma at average sedimentation rates of 0.86 mm/yr). Sedimentary rocks deposited during this period include the Las Piedras Formation, a 1.45 km-thick section of sandstone, carbonaceous siltstone and shale deposited in deltaic environments. Seismic facies show a progradation of Phase 3 clastic rocks as a wedge to the northeast and east-northeast. Deeper marine environments and more rapid subsidence rates of Phases 1 and 2 are interpreted as an underfilled foreland basin controlled by active thrusting along the Serrania del Interior at the northern flank of the basin. Deltaic environments and slower rates of Phase 3 are interpreted as an overfilled foreland related to rapid seaward progradation of the Orinoco Delta and its filling of the former, dynamically- maintained interior seaway. Paleogeographic maps constrained by wells and seismic lines show a large regression of the Orinoco River towards the west across the Columbus basin and Eastern Venezuelan basin during the late Miocene and the Paleocene. In this foreland basin setting, the effects of thrust-related tectonic subsidence and early deposition of the Orinoco Delta play a larger role in the early Miocene-Pleistocene sequences than eustatic effects.