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Evolution of the Ecuador offshore nonaccretionary forearc basin and margin segmentation

Abstract : Forearc basins have developed along accretionary and nonaccretionary convergent margins. Here, we investigate the evolution of an offshore nonaccretionary-type forearc basin that has developed along the Ecuadorian convergent margin. We used 2D-Multichannel Seismic Reflection profiles to recognize five seismic units overlying the acoustic basement. The units were dated by correlation with wells and regional stratigraphy. They recorded the structural evolution of the margin into North, Central-North and Central-South margin segments identified from Gravity Free Air Anomalies. Intersegment transition zones accommodated deformation related to the margin segmentation, contributing to the development of shelf forearc depocenters. An offshore forearc basin (subunit L1a) developed on accreted oceanic terranes during the middle-to-late Eocene. The basin was affected by normal faulting during the Oligocene to early-middle Miocene (subunit L1b). This extension stage initiated during the rifting and oblique subduction of the Farallon plate beneath the Ecuador margin. The basin underwent an early-middle Miocene uplift outlined by unconformity U1 potentially associated with the subduction of the young Nazca plate, in a less oblique plate convergence environment. During the early-Pliocene, the Central-South margin segment individualized by uplift during the formation of unconformity U2. The Manta anticline, which developed in the intersegment transition zone, accommodated the segmentation. This event is associated with the arrival of the Carnegie ridge in the subduction. The North segment individualized by uplift during the Pliocene early-Pleistocene formation of the Pedernales structural high, which may coincide with a reactivation of the Canandé fault. Synchronously, unit L3 sediment recorded the subsidence of the Central-North segment, and strike-slip tectonics in the area of the Jama-Bahía depocenter. A mosaic of middle-to-late Pleistocene unit L5 depocenters that alternate with uplifted zones along the shelf likely recorded the subduction of the topographically irregular Carnegie ridge. The study provides a remarkable example of the evolution of a non-accretionary-type forearc basin.
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María José Hernández, François Michaud, Jean-Yves Collot, Jean-Noël Proust, Elia d'Acremont. Evolution of the Ecuador offshore nonaccretionary forearc basin and margin segmentation. Tectonophysics, Elsevier, 2020, 781, pp.228374. ⟨10.1016/j.tecto.2020.228374⟩. ⟨insu-02495764⟩

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