Jurassic Paleogeography of westcentral Pangaea:
The Origin of the Gulf of Mexico
and the Caribbean
Manuel A. Iturralde-Vinent
Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Cuba
Plate Tectonics
Understanding the evolution of west-central
Pangaea up to the formation of the
Caribbean sea, require as starting point a
Plate Tectonic framework. Here is chosen
the reconstruction of Lawyer and Gahagan
(1999) with minor modifications, in order to
find a place for the Cuban Southwestern
Terranes (Guaniguanico, Pinos and
Escambray) and the Peñón-Dagua terrane.
Latest Triassic - Early Cretaceous Plate Tectonic
Evolution of West Central Pangaea
by
Larry Lawyer and Lisa Gahagan
University of Texas, at Austin, 1999
Paleogeography of West-central
Pangaea:
2. Tectonic and Stratigraphic
Framework
M. Iturralde-Vinent
Tectonic units and terrains related to the
Jurassic paleogeography of western Pangaea
NORTH AMERICA
ATLANTIC OCEAN
6
5
4
3
Mexican
7
Gulf of
Mexico
Bahamas
2
Maya
Block
Terrains
8
1
Florida
9
10
Cuban SW
Terrains
Chortis
11
PACIFIC OCEAN
12
Andean
terrains
SOUTH AMERICA
Stratigraphic-environmental columns of west-central Pangaea
Mexican Terrains
1
135
2
3
U.S. Gulf Coas t
4
5
F lorida
6
7
May a Blk. Guaniguanic o N. Cuba- Chortis
terrain
Bahamas
9
8
10
11
Sout h
Americ a
12
Tithonian
?
141
Kimmerid
146
Ox f ordian
154
?
?
Callov ian
160
Bat honian
?
?
164
?
?
Volcanic
r ocks
Bajoc ian
170
Aalenian
175
?
?
?
?
Toarc ian
?
184
Pliensbac hian
?
?
?
191
Sinemurian
200
Hettangian
203
Red beds and fresh water
Mar ine evapori tes
Shallow mari ne siliciclasti cs
Shallow mari ne car bonates
Deep mari ne carbonates
Seismic stratigraphy of the southeastern Gulf of Mexico
A
SEISMIC SECTION FROM FLORIDA TO BLAKE BAHAMAS
B
Florida
Strait
Providence channnel
Blake Bahamas Basin
Upper Jurassic
Latest Triassic
EARLY RIFT
SYSTEM
Continental crust
Upper
Jurassic
Lower to
Middle Jurassic
Oceanic crust
Jurassic to Early Cretaceous in
the Cuban foldbelt
This stage is represented by the evolution from
intracontinental to open marine facies during the
formation of the Caribbean sea and its continental
margins. This was a stage of Latest TriassicJurassic rifting and Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous
rift.
These events are reflected in the stratigraphy of
the Cuban southwestern terranes and the
Bahamas.
Outcrops of the North American continental
margin units along the northern half of Cuba (Bahamian
borderland) and as the Cuban Southwestern terranes
(former Mayan borderland).
85°W
84°W
83°W
82°W
81°W
80°W
79°W
78°W
77°W
76°W
75°W
74°W
La Habana
Ma tanz as
23°N
23°N
Guaniguanico
ter r ane
Pi nar d el R io
Sa nta C lara
Ci enfue gos
22°N
22°N
Pinos
ter r ane
Nu eva Gero na
Tri nidad
Cubitas
Es cam bray
ter r ane
Ca mag uey
Cam aján
Gibar a
Bahamian
margin
Bahamian
borderland
21°N
21°N
Holguin
Yucatán
Mayan margin
(Yucatan) borderland
As unción
ter r ane
Santiago de Cuba
20°N
0
85°W
100
84°W
20°N
200KM
83°W
82°W
81°W
80°W
79°W
78°W
77°W
76°W
75°W
74°W
Original position of the Cuban Southwestern Terranes
Gulf of Mexico
Bahamas
Guaniguanico
Pinos
Yucatán
Escambray
Caribbean
South America
85°W
84°W
83°W
82°W
81°W
80°W
79°W
78°W
77°W
76°W
75°W
74°W
La Habana
Ma tanz as
23°N
23°N
Guaniguanico
ter r ane
Pi nar d el R io
Guaniguanico Terrane: Mesozoic stratigraphy
Sa nta C lara
Ci enfue gos
22°N
22°N
Pinos
ter r ane
Nu eva Gero na
Tri nidad
Cubitas
Es cam bray
ter r ane
Ca mag uey
Cam aján
Gibar a
Bahamian margin
21°N
21°N
Holguin
Yucatán margin
As unción
ter r ane
Santiago de Cuba
20°N
0
85°W
100
84°W
20°N
200KM
83°W
82°W
81°W
80°W
79°W
78°W
NO EVAPORITES IN THE AREA !!!
77°W
76°W
75°W
74°W
85°W
84°W
83°W
82°W
81°W
80°W
79°W
78°W
77°W
76°W
75°W
74°W
La Habana
Ma tanz as
23°N
23°N
Guaniguanico
ter r ane
Pi nar d el R io
Sa nta C lara
Ci enfue gos
22°N
22°N
Pinos
ter r ane
Nu eva Gero na
Tri nidad
Cubitas
Es cam bray
ter r ane
Ca mag uey
Cam aján
Gibar a
Bahamian margin
21°N
21°N
Holguin
Yucatán margin
As unción
ter r ane
Santiago de Cuba
20°N
0
85°W
100
84°W
20°N
200KM
83°W
82°W
81°W
80°W
79°W
78°W
77°W
The Mesozoic stratigraphy of both the
Guaniguanico and Escambray terranes are very
similar, but the Pinos terrane differ in
representing a more continental-ward set of
siliciclastic and carbonate rocks. All these
terranes present igneous rocks associated with
the early rift and later drift of the continents.
76°W
75°W
74°W
Stratigraphy of the Bahamian borderland and Proto-Caribbean
85°W
84°W
83°W
82°W
81°W
80°W
79°W
78°W
77°W
76°W
75°W
74°W
La Habana
Ma tanz as
23°N
23°N
Guaniguanico
ter r ane
Pi nar d el R io
Sa nta C lara
Ci enfue gos
22°N
22°N
Pinos
ter r ane
Nu eva Gero na
Tri nidad
Cubitas
Es cam bray
ter r ane
Ca mag uey
Cam aján
Gibar a
Bahamian margin
21°N
21°N
Holguin
Yucatán margin
As unción
ter r ane
Santiago de Cuba
20°N
0
85°W
EVAPORITES
100
84°W
20°N
200KM
83°W
82°W
81°W
80°W
79°W
78°W
77°W
76°W
75°W
74°W
Paleogeography of West-central
Pangaea:
3. Jurassic evolution of the
Caribbean-Gulf of Mexico
M. Iturralde-Vinent
A
NORTH A MERICA
North At lant ic
rif t syst em
AFRICA
Mexican
terrains
Western Pangean
intracont inental rif t sy stem
Chortis
PACIFIC
OCEAN
SOUTH AMERICA
Andean
terrains
Land envir onments
Latest Triassic-Early Jurassic
(205-180 m.y.)
Red beds and
fr esh water sediments
Shallow mari ne
siliciclasti cs
Deep ocean
D
NORTH
ATLANTIC
Gulf of
Mexico
Florida
-Bahamas
ProtoCaribbean
PACIFIC
OCEAN
Late Jurassic
Tithonian (141-136 m.y.)
Land environments
Shallow marine
sili ciclastics
Carbonate shelf
Deep ocean
CONCLUSIONS
1. The Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico areas
evolved almost simultaneously, but they
were structurally isolated from each other
until the Late Jurassic
2. The crust of the Caribbean and the Gulf
are of Callovian-Oxfordian in age, but
the Gulf crust may be slightly older.
3. The Louan salts may be slightly older than
Punta Alegre salts of northern CubaBahamas.
4. The oldest marine rocks of the Caribbean
area and surroundings are of BajocianBathonian age, but indirect paleontologic
evidence suggest that there may be older
marine rocks in the area.
5. The Caribbean opened as a seaway probably
in the Bathonian, but certainly in the
Oxfordian, when was populated by deep
marine animals.
This is a contribution to
IGCP Project 433
Caribbean Plate Tectonics
Web Site:
www.ig.utexas.edu/CaribPlate/CaribPlate.html
Thanks / Gracias
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Jurassic paleogeography of west-central Pangaea