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Book Chapter

Comparison of Structural Styles and Giant Hydrocarbon Occurrences within Four Active Strike-slip Regions: California, Southern Caribbean, Sumatra, and East China

Paul Mann
Paul Mann
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston, 312 Science and Research Building 1, Houston, Texas, 77204, U.S.A. (e-mail:
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January 01, 2013


From previous compilations, active strike-slip tectonic settings include only a small fraction (~5%) of the world’s basins containing giant oil and gas fields. Despite the relative global paucity of oil within strike-slip margins, several active strike-slip basins like the San Joaquin and Los Angeles basins of southern California, U.S.A. have produced billions of barrels of oil and deserve special analysis by explorationists to understand the regional geologic and stress controls on their productivity. The purpose of this chapter is to compile structural and tectonic parameters of four active strike-slip settings characterized by the greatest known concentrations of giant oil and gas fields: faults and mainly onshore basins of the San Andreas fault system in southern and central California; southern Caribbean plate boundary and related onshore and offshore basins in Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago; onshore and offshore plate boundary strike-slip faults and related basins in the area of Sumatra and Southeast Asia; and onshore and offshore strike-slip faults and basins in the area of the Bohai Basin of eastern China. Main geologic and tectonic parameters compiled from a variety of public access databases using geographic information system technology for all four of these strike-slip and hydrocarbon settings include regional plate motions based on global positioning system (GPS) -based geodesy, basin types along the strike-slip faults are defined using compilations of depth to basement data and include localized pull-aparts and more regional transpressional basins flanking major strike-slip faults, well-described examples of structural styles along strike-slip faults based on surface and subsurface mapping mostly related to hydrocarbon exploration, and well-studied structural and stratigraphic traps that accommodate large accumulations of hydrocarbons in each of the four regional study areas. The compilation reconfirms earlier insights into the relationship between regional stresses and structures along major strike-slip faults as well as suggesting that distant subduction zones may control the stress state in some active plate margin-parallel strike-slip faults.

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Figures & Tables


AAPG Memoir

Tectonics and Sedimentation: Implications for Petroleum Systems

Dengliang Gao
Dengliang Gao
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2013




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