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Abstract

The Magallanes Basin SEPM Field Conference, February 2009, showcases outcrops of Cretaceous deep-water clastic strata exposed in the Ultima Esperanza District of southernmost Chile from Puerto Natales northward to Torres del Paine National Park. Why travel to the ‘end of the Earth’ to see these deep-water deposits? We believe that the deep-water succession in the Magallanes Basin of Chilean Patagonia is destined to join a select set of outcrop systems such as the Tanqua Karoo of South Africa (e.g., Wickens and Bouma, 2000; Johnson et al., 2001) and Brushy Canyon Formation of west Texas (e.g., Beaubouef et al., 1999; Gardner et al., 2003) as a world-class outcrop analog for buried, petroliferous deep-water systems. Magallanes Basin outcrops are notable for several key features: (1) Involvement in a latest Cretaceous – early Tertiary fold-thrust belt, providing nearly continuous down-depositional-dip 2-D outcrops for ~100 km, with local 3-D exposures provided by folding and topography; (2) Deep excavation and many bare-rock surfaces created by Late Cenozoic glaciation; (3) Contrasting styles of deep-water systems stratigraphically stacked during basin evolution, from unconfined and/or weakly-confined turbidite systems through highly-confined channelized systems through progradational failure-dominated delta slope with numerous channels and sand-filled mini-basins. The variability of the Magallanes Basin fill over a relatively small area makes the exposures of the Ultima Esperanza District worthy of the attention of the international sedimentologic community.

But it has not always been so. Cretaceous outcrops in the Magallanes Basin of the Ultima Esperanza District

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