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Normal, low-angle growth faults of the Eastern Venezuelan basin are characterized by (1) an arcuate shape in plan view, the concave side being toward the Guayana shield on the south, (2) southward dips averaging 34°, (3) an increase in throw with depth, and (4) anomalously thick downthrown sections.
Displacement on these faults occurred from at least Oligocene time into the Pliocene, and was approximately contemporaneous with thrusting near the northern basin margin and with strike-slip movement farther north near the Caribbean Sea. Dips of the normal faults may have been reduced slightly by late basin tilting.
The mechanism of growth faulting in the basin probably involved primary vertical movements of the Precambrian crystalline basement resulting in differential basin subsidence. Several alternate suggestions, developed elsewhere by other workers, do not appear to apply there.
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