Abstract

The pressure-temperature-time-deformation evolution for the crust of Margarita Island (Venezuela) has been established to allow comparison with current plate-tectonic models for the Caribbean region. On Margarita, the 12 recognizable stages of development can be summarized in terms of the following evolving tectonic settings: Protolith evolution as Aptian-Albian or older oceanic crust, as well as continental crust with Paleozoic basement (stages 1 and 2); accretion and high-pressure metamorphism (500–600 °C, 10–14 kbar) as the Margarita Complex in the deep level of a fore arc at 100–90 Ma (stage 3); ascent, cooling, and emplacement into the intermediate crustal level of a volcanic arc at 90–80 Ma (stage 4); transform plate-margin setting at a comparable level at 80–50 Ma (stage 5); second episode of rapid uplift and cooling (stages 6 and 7); and shallow crustal level close to transform plate margin from 50 Ma to present (stages 8 to 12). This complex sequence is in excellent agreement with plate-tectonic scenarios that require a Pacific origin for the Caribbean plate and eastward migration of the Margarita Complex and its correlatives along northern South America since the Cretaceous.

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