Abstract

Recent papers have opened the debate over whether the Chortís block was located off the coast of southern Mexico or in a more outboard position, and this led me to explore whether correlations with older structures could be established to determine the evolution of the southwest corner of the North America plate. In this paper I hypothesize that the Papalutla fault of Mexico and the Guayape fault system of Honduras, both considered to be terrane boundaries, were roughly continuous in the Cretaceous, extending from southern Mexico to the Chortís block. They influenced Early Cretaceous clastic sedimentation of the Zicapa Formation on the Guerrero-Morelos Platform (southern Mexico) and the Tepemechin Formation of the Central Chortís terrane (Honduras). The units accumulated in fault-bounded basins associated with left-lateral slip. The basins developed in the Central Chortís terrane and Guerrero-Morelos Platform. Both geological entities appear to represent a continuous Cretaceous geologic province characterized by a trangression that occurred earlier in Honduras than in southern Mexico. This nonrotational hypothesis for the location of the Chortís block adjacent to southern Mexico during the Cretaceous is consistent with northeastward displacement of the Caribbean plate during Cretaceous time and implies 1500 km of Chortís block displacement during the Cenozoic.

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