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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 4. (April)

First Page: 759

Last Page: 759

Title: Plate Tectonics of Permian Basin: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Jack G. Elam

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The recorded plate history in the Permian basin began in Early Cambrian time. The area was uplifted and eroded over one of a line of mantle plumes that extended across the southern North American plate. Rift-rift-rift triple junctions formed over these hot spots and sea-floor spreading led to plate separation.

As the new ocean opened up to the south, the craton cooled and the sedimentation in the lower and middle Paleozoic was controlled by cooling.

In Pennsylvanian time, the North American plate probably came temporarily to rest over a hot spot located under the Tabosa basin. Thermal doming occurred and the Delaware-Val Verde-Marfa triple junction was formed. By the close of the Pennsylvanian, a large part of the dome was elevated above sea level. Thermal activity waned, or the plate resumed its movement again before new oceanic crust formed and all three basins became failed arms or aulacogens.

Intracrustal melting and intrusion accompanied the period of high heat flow; individual oil-producing anticlinoria are upwarps over intrusives. Optimum conditions for generation and migration of hydrocarbons accompanied this time of high heat flow.

On the south, ocean closing along a subduction zone with the suturing reflected by the Marathon-Ouachita overthrust belt. There is little reflection of this collision in the tectonic history of the Delaware and Val Verde basins, but much of the basin fill was from this southerly source.

Cooling and contraction controlled the sedimentary and structural history throughout the remainder of the Permian.

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