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ABSTRACT

It has been proposed that Trinidad experienced a period of intense tectonism in the Cretaceous and Paleocene, brought about by the collision of the Caribbean Plato with northern South America. Alter re-examining the sedimentation history of Trinidad in light of recent advances in our knowledge of the Structural and stratigraphic development of the island, it is apparent that these suggestions are unfounded. Instead. Trinidad developed as a passive continental margin from the Late Jurassic to the Early Eocene. This is in agreement with other work in northern South America which have also disproved similar suggestions of Cretaceous orogenesis. A Caribbean-northern South American collision cannot therefore have occurred in the Cretaceous, and must have occurred solely in the Tertiary.

The majority of Trinidadian deposition from the Cretaceous through Lower Eocene occurred on the outer shelf or upper slope, in relatively deep water. Sedimentological variations appear to be due solely to long period eustatic variations in sea level and/or shifts in sediment pathways. Global oceanic anoxia combined with upwelling in a period of eustatic sea level high to deposit pelagic source rocks from the Upper Cenomanian to the Lower Maastrichtian. Lowering of sea level in the Maastrichtian resulted in coarse elastic slope-deposited deposition in northern Trinidad, and mudstones in central and southern Trinidad. Subaqueous erosion of the central Trinidad section prior to, or contingent with, deposition of the overlying Paleocene section is common in the central Trinidad, but completely absent to the south. This local erosion is interpreted to be due to a major eustatic sea level fluctuation, causing a regrading of the shelf edge, which was in the vicinity of the Central Range at this time. Paleocene through Middle Eocene sedimentation was generally quite slow, with pelagic deposits developing in the Eocene Navet Formation.

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