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ABSTRACT

Cuba is the product of northward convergence between an island arc and a southeast facing continental margin extending south of the Bahamas during Late Cretaceous-Early Tertiary. We establish the depositional architecture of the margin by (I) palinspastically restoring the constricted margin thrust slices and melange back to more southerly positions so that the southern edge of the margin extended 450 km to the south of the frontal thrust, (2) reconciling new Cuban academic and government stratigraphic data with prerevolution industry data from several companies, and (3) revising interpretations of fossil ages and environments.

The Mesozoic depositional architecture of Cuba is best depicted in a north-to-south series of tectonostratigraphic belts representing precollision environments including carbonate platform, slope/rise, abyssal plain, and island arc.

An integration of stratigraphic data from all the belts suggests the following evolution: (1) Jurassic–rifting, red-bed and evaporite deposition, and bimodal volcanism in a broad transform zone linking the opening Central Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico ocean basins, (2) Neocomian–subsidence and pelagic sedimentation on the margin of the opening proto-Caribhean Sea, (3) Barremian/Albian-deposition of fragmental carbonates and turbidites because of regional block faulting. (4) Cenomanian/Santonian–pelagic sedimentation with intercalated tuffs derived from the northward moving Cuban island arc, and (5) Campanian/Maastrichtian–widespread erosion of Turonian-Campanian section and deposition of unconformably overlying flysch related to beginning of arc/margin collision.

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