Revista de la Asociación Geológica Argentina
versión On-line ISSN 1851-8249
AUDEMARD M., F.A.; SINGER P., A.; SOULAS, J-P. y FUNVISIS EARTH SCIENCES DEPARTMENT. Neotectonics Section. Quaternary Faults and Stress Regime of Venezuela. Rev. Asoc. Geol. Argent. [online]. 2006, vol.61, n.4, pp. 480-491. ISSN 1851-8249.
Spatial configuration of Quaternary active tectonic features along the southern Caribbean plate boundary suggests that the region is subject to a compressive strike-slip (transpressional senso lato) regime, characterized by a NNW-SSE maximum horizontal stress (sH=s1) and/or an ENE-WSW minimum (sh=s3 or s2) horizontal stress. Stress inversion applied to fault-plane kinematic indicators measured essentially in Plio-Quaternary sedimentary rocks confirms this tectonic regime. Accordingly, this stress regime is responsible for the Quaternary activity and kinematics of six sets of brittle features along northern Venezuela (from Colombia in the west to Trinidad in the east): (1) east-west rightlateral faults, (2) NW right-lateral faults -acting as synthetic Riedel shears-, (3) ENE to east-west dextral faults -P shears-, (4) NNW normal faults, (5) almost north-south left-lateral faults -antithetic Riedel shears- and (6) mostly subsurface ENE reverse faults associated with folding of the same orientation. Brittle deformation conforms to the simple shear model, although not all the deformation can be accounted for it since strain partitioning is also taking place because regional folding and thrusting are due to the normal-to-structure component of the relative slip vector between the Caribbean and South America plates. On the other hand, the maximum horizontal stress in western Venezuela, particularly in the Maracaibo block and south of the Oca-Ancón fault, progressively turns counter-clockwise to become more east-west oriented, producing left- and right-lateral slip along the north-south striking and NE-SW striking faults, respectively. The orientation and spatial variation of this regional stress field in western Venezuela results from the superposition of the two major neighboring interplate maximum horizontal stress orientations (sH): roughly east-west trending stress across the Nazca-South America type-B subduction along the pacific coast of Colombia and NNW-SSE oriented stress across the southern Caribbean boundary zone.
Palabras clave : Quaternary tectonics; Fault-slip data; Stress tensor; Caribbean; Venezuela.