Skip to Main Content


The Middle Miocene, thin-skinned, Chiapas fold-and-thrust belt (Gulf of Mexico–southeastern Mexico–Belize) consists of WNW-trending folds and thrusts, and East–West sinistral transcurrent faults resulting from N60°E shortening. Balanced cross-sections indicate that shortening varies from 48% (SW) to c. 8% (NE) with a total shortening of 106 km, and that thrusts merge into a basal décollement in the Callovian salt horizon. The Middle Miocene age of the deformation is synchronous with collision of the Tehuantepec Transform/Ridge with the Middle America Trench off Chiapas. The presently exposed Tehuantepec Transform/Ridge varies from a transform fault across which the age of the oceanic crust changes producing a step (down to the east) to a ridge resulting from compression following a change in plate motion and a series of seamounts. On the other hand, the earthquake data show that the part of the Tehuantepec Transform/Ridge subducted during the past 5 Ma is a step with no accompanying ridge. Whereas collision of a ridge segment with the trench is inferred to be responsible for the 13–11 Ma deformation in the upper plate, its termination at 11 Ma suggests an along-strike transition to a step. Collision of the Tehuantepec Transform/Ridge also appears to have terminated arc magmatism along the Pacific coast of Chiapas. The similarity between the petroleum-producing, Cantarell structure in the Sonda de Campeche and the buried foldbelt in the Sierra de Chiapas suggests there is considerable further hydrocarbon potential.

You do not currently have access to this chapter.

Figures & Tables





Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal