Tectonoestratigraphic and Thermal Models of the Tiburon and Wagner Basins, northern Gulf of California Rift System

Monday, 15 December 2014
Juan Contreras, Nestor Ali Ramirez Zerpa and Raquel Negrete-Aranda, CICESE National Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Mexico, Ensenada, Mexico
The northern Gulf of California Rift System consist sofa series faults that accommodate both normal and strike-slip motion. The faults formed a series of half-greens filled with more than 7 km of siliciclastic suc­cessions. Here, we present tectonostratigraphic and heat flow models for the Tiburón basin, in the southern part of the system, and the Wag­ner basin in the north. The models are constrained by two-dimensional seis­mic lines and by two deep boreholes drilled by PEMEX­-PEP.

Analysis of the seismic lines and models’ results show that: (i) subsidence of the basins is controlled by high-angle normal faults and by flow of the lower crust, (ii) basins share a common history, and (iii) there are significant differences in the way brittle strain was partitioned in the basins, a feature frequently observed in rift basins. On one hand, the bounding faults of the Tiburón basin have a nested geometry and became active following a west-to-east sequence of activation. The Tiburon half-graben was formed by two pulses of fault activity. One took place during the protogulf extensional phase in the Miocene and the other during the opening of Gulf of California in the Pleistocene. On the other hand, the Wagner basin is the result of two fault generations. During the late-to middle Miocene, the west-dipping Cerro Prieto and San Felipe faults formed a domino array. Then, during the Pleistocene the Consag and Wagner faults dissected the hanging-wall of the Cerro Prieto fault forming the modern Wagner basin.

Thermal modeling of the deep borehole temperatures suggests that the heat flow in these basins in the order of 110 mW/m2 which is in agreement with superficial heat flow measurements in the northern Gulf of California Rift System.