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Analogue Modeling of the Monterrey Salient and the La Popa Basin, Northeastern Mexico
Salt tectonics play an important role in the structural styles observed during shortening deformation of the Monterrey curvature and La Popa Basin in northeastern Mexico. Also the geometry of the basement below the Jurassic salt and the pre-existing and reactivated faults can be a factor controlling strain localization and evolution. We explore this mechanical hypothesis using simplified analogue models that simulate the Late Cretaceous and Early Tertiary contractional deformation that affected the area of the Monterrey Salient and Sabinas and La Popa basins. Models were constructed on an automatized experimental table of the Laboratory of Mechanics of Geosystems at the Center of Geosciences, UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico), and consisted of three layers: (1) a brittle basement of sand, (2) a viscous silicone layer simulating the salt and gypsum sequences, and (3) a brittle cover of sand. The thickness of the salt sequences were thicker in a band corresponding to the La Popa Basin. Shortening of the models was oblique with respect to the faults bordering the Basin. Models suggest that the Late Cretaceous and Early Tertiary shortening triggers different structural styles observed in the Monterrey salient and the La Popa Basin, which can be explained by the geometrical and mechanical characteristic of the evaporite sequence. The model simulates the late reactivation of basement faults and their influence in thin-skinned structures.
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