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Tectonic Terranes Underlying the Present-Day Caribbean Plate: Their Tectonic Origin, Sedimentary Thickness, Subsidence Histories, And Regional Controls on Hydrocarbon Resources

SW Caribbean Virtual Symposium Presentation
AAPG Distinguished Lecture

Authors: Sean Romito (presenter), Paul Mann, University of Houston

Thick sedimentary cover (≤16 km), vintage seismic, and disparate crustal terranes have hindered understanding of the basement underlying the Caribbean plate. The plate formed by Early Cretaceous to Miocene amalgamation of four crustal types: The Caribbean Large Igneous Province oceanic plateau; the Chortis continental block; the related Great Arc of the Caribbean and Siuna/Mesquito Composite Oceanic Terranes island arc blocks; and the Colombian and Venezuelan basin oceanic crust. We characterize each terrane through interpretation of surface geology, 62 000-line-km of 2D seismic reflection data, 366 seismic refraction stations, 47 wells, 74 basement samples, 2D forward modelling, magnetic and gravity anomaly grids, and integration of previous studies. Basins overlying island arc crust are small, fault-bounded and deep, while on continental crust, they are broader and shallower. Strongly flexed oceanic and oceanic plateau crust along amagmatic subduction zones on the southern and northeastern edges of the Caribbean plate produce the largest and deepest sediment filled basins. Areas of proven hydrocarbon source rocks and mapped seeps are associated with continental and island arc terranes in the western Caribbean plate, while organically-rich, but immature, Late Cretaceous source rocks occur across the more elevated areas of the central and eastern Caribbean plate interior.


Sean Romito, University of Houston

Sean earned a BSc in Geology from the University of Texas at Dallas, and currently is a PhD candidate and research assistant at the University of Houston, where he develops large-scale tectonic research within the Caribbean plate and the Brazilian passive margin.

He has experience as intern on prospect generation within onshore US basins; field work as a wellsite geologist in the Permian; and intern on geologic risk within the Texas panhandle.

Sean is a member of AAPG and HGS.

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