Hydrocarbon Prospectivity of the Nicaraguan Rise and Colombian Basin, Western Caribbean Sea
Carvajal Arenas, Luis Carlos 1983-
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The Nicaraguan Rise (NR) and Colombia Basin (CB) represents a vast, 1,160,000 km2, under-explored area of the western Caribbean Sea where hydrocarbon exploration efforts stalled in the period between early exploration efforts in the 1970’s and 80’s and the first modern exploration well drilled in 2006. In order to provide a modern, basinal framework for hydrocarbon prospectivity of the western Caribbean Sea, this dissertation interprets a variety of data types including: gravity and magnetic grids; refraction stations; outcrop data; 24 exploration wells; geochemical data; and 8,200 km of high-resolution, 2D seismic profiles. These data types are integrated into five chapters: Chapter 1: Introduction to the dissertation; Chapter 2: Crustal configuration and tectonic setting of the NR and CB; Chapter 3: Late Cretaceous to Recent tectonostratigraphy of the NR and CB; Chapter 4: Defining a continuous and active microplate boundary within the western Caribbean plate; and Chapter 5: Documenting an Eocene-Miocene petroleum system on the NR. This dissertation uses methods that include: 2D gravity/magnetic forward modeling, seismic interpretation, seismic-well correlation, subsurface mapping, 2D structural restorations, and 3D hydrocarbon basin modeling. The main results from these methods include: 1) the Cretaceous to Cenozoic tectonic history and southwest-to northeast motion of the NR and CB, along major structures (Pedro Bank fault zone, San Andres Rift, and Hess Escarpment fault zone) formed by transtensive, transpressive, and extensional events ranging in age from late Cretaceous to recent; 2) geophysical data allow identification of continental, island arc, and oceanic plateau crusts ranging in age from Paleozoic to late Cretaceous beneath the NR and CB; 3) geophysical data refine our understanding of middle/late Cretaceous, wedging intra-basement reflectors observed along the margins of the CB; 4) subsurface maps of structure, stratigraphy are constrained by well ties and used to construct late Cretaceous to recent paleogeographic maps showing the late Cretaceous to recent northeastward displacement of the western Caribbean plate; and 5) integrated geophysical datasets supports the existence of an Eocene-Oligo-Miocene petroleum system beneath large areas of the western Caribbean Sea.