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Abstract

The superposition of structures produced by different tectonic phases is common in sedimentary basins. Yet the earlier structures often remain overlooked with potentially negative exploration consequences. In the Maiella anticline, Pliocene compression has folded carbonate sequences containing Cretaceous extensional structures. The geometry and evolution of the Apulian carbonate platform margin outcropping on the Maiella Mountain are described by two opposing groups of models. One proposes a structurally controlled platform margins cut by syn-sedimentary Cretaceous faults; the other assumes a passive Cretaceous palaeo-escarpments progressively filled by Cretaceous to Tertiary sediments later deformed by the Pliocene compression. Assuming models in line with either one of these two groups has significant implications for exploration plays on both platforms and adjacent basins of analogous subsurface systems. These include: hypothesized margin geometries; sediment transport mechanisms (directions and distribution); size of sequences; type and size of traps and associated exploration targets, risks and uncertainties. We demonstrate that during the Late Cretaceous the platform margin was cut by normal faults which controlled the palaeogeography of the platform and the sediment input into the adjacent basin in which thick, resedimented, carbonate megabreccia and turbidites were deposited. These carbonates represent exploration targets in similar settings worldwide.

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