Island arcs, misplaced continents, and a large igneous province; challenges for petroleum prospecting in the western Caribbean

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Author(s): Ott, Bryan; Mann, Paul; Saunders, Mike
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
University of Houston, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Houston, TX, United States
Spectrum Geo, Houston, TX, United States
Volume Title: 2014 AAPG annual convention & exhibition; abstracts volume; Ideas and innovation; fuel for the energy capital
Source: Abstracts: Annual Meeting - American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Vol.2014; AAPG 2014 annual convention & exhibition, Houston, TX, April 6-9, 2014. Publisher: American Association of Petroleum Geologists and Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
Note: In English
Summary: The western Caribbean is an area of over 700,000 square kilometers that comprises the on- and offshore areas of Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and offshore Colombia. This study utilizes a database of over 30,000 km of 2D seismic data from both industry and academia, and 70 wildcat and ODP/DSDP wells to define the complex Jurassic to Recent tectonic events that have inserted three allochthonous terranes with Pacific origins between the highly prolific hydrocarbon regions of northern South America and the Gulf of Mexico. To date there have been numerous shows and seeps but no commercial production from the western Caribbean region. This study aims to define: 1) The nature and location of the present day boundaries of the crustal provinces; 2) the subsequent sedimentary basins that formed as a result of the tectonic processes that emplaced these terranes; and 3) the critical risks associated with modern petroleum exploration in each province. Previous work from the onshore portion of Honduras has defined the Chortis block as a Paleozoic-Mesozoic continental block, with a southwestward facing passive margin that formed following the Early Jurassic rifting event that separated North and South America. The Campanian collision of the Siuna oceanic terrane formed a northeast-verging fold and thrust belt, with the northernmost deformation occurring at the present day Colon Mountains, and an offshore suture zone that can be mapped to the northeast for 150 km. Restricted marine piggy-back basins formed during the Eocene as the fold belt was reactivated during the opening of the Cayman Trough. A coeval, regional subsidence event has been observed in wells from Honduras to Jamaica during this time. Eocene age source rocks encountered in Jamaica and Honduras have been immature, except for the Main Cape well of Honduras. Source rock maturity remains the critical risk factor for Eocene plays of the northern Nicaraguan Rise. An unproven Cretaceous age passive margin play may exist in the offshore portions of Honduras beneath the Tertiary carbonate cap.
Year of Publication: 2014
Research Program: DSDP Deep Sea Drilling Project
ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 20 Geophysics, Applied; 29 Economic Geology, Energy Sources; Atlantic Ocean; Basins; Boreholes; Caribbean Sea; Caribbean region; Cenozoic; Central America; Colombia; Deep Sea Drilling Project; Eocene; Geophysical methods; Geophysical surveys; Honduras; Island arcs; Large igneous provinces; Nicaragua; Nicaragua Rise; North Atlantic; Ocean Drilling Program; Offshore; Paleogene; Passive margins; Petroleum; Petroleum exploration; Plate tectonics; Rifting; Sedimentary basins; Seepage; Seismic methods; Source rocks; South America; Surveys; Tectonics; Terranes; Tertiary; Thermal maturity; Western Caribbean region
Coordinates: N080000 N150000 W0730000 W0830000
Record ID: 2015095235
Copyright Information: GeoRef, Copyright 2019 American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, OK, United States