Subsidence analysis of northeastern Venezuela's exposed, parautochthonous Lower Cretaceous-Miocene sedimentary section reveals an Atlantic-type passive-margin subsidence history for the entire Cretaceous-middle Eocene interval; Oligocene-Miocene subsidence was rapid and great and was caused by foredeep formation and emplacement of the fold-and-thrust belt that now exposes the passive-margin sedimentary section. Our analyses support tectonic models of South America's northern margin which propose Cenozoic eastward migration of a foredeep along northern South America's late Mesozoic passive margin. The calculated subsidence is inconsistent with tectonic models that propose middle or Late Cretaceous subduction or obduction.

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