The Llanos basin, located in the eastern region of Colombia, northwestern South America, is an Andean foreland basin between the Eastern Cordillera (Colombian Andes) and the Guyana Precambrian shield. The basin is the latest stage of a complex multiphase evolution that began in the Paleozoic at the latest. A Paleozoic–Pleistocene basin evolution model is presented based on a regional, two-dimensional, industry seismic data set and well-log observations for the southern part of the basin.

Five tectono-stratigraphic sequences were identified: (1) lower Paleozoic depocenters preserved along inverted Neoproterozoic basement blocks; (2) an upper Paleozoic marine sequence folded and faulted in the late Paleozoic during assembly of Pangea; (3) Upper Cretaceous–Paleocene shallow marine sediments deposited in a distal foreland basin related to uplift of the Western and Central Cordilleras of Colombia, the sequence pinches out against a Paleozoic hinge or foreland bulge area; (4) an Eocene–Miocene foreland basin related to uplift of the Eastern Cordillera resulting in a wedge geometry; and (5) Pliocene–Pleistocene fluvial deltaic rocks overfilling the foreland basin. Reactivation of Paleozoic structures occurs at the top of this sequence with the development of anticlinal structures. Present-day stress fields indicate that subduction of the Nazca plate beneath South America may be responsible for reactivation of Paleozoic structures.

Inversion of north–south structures with the Neoproterozoic basement is interpreted to be responsible for the Paleozoic and Pleistocene deformation, whereas Cenozoic deformation is related to the two main stages of foreland development of the basin. To the east, where the Paleoproterozoic basement is present, no deformation is interpreted.

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