Albian/Maastrichtian tectono-stratigraphic evolution of Central Santos Basin, Offshore Brazil
The dissertation examines the interaction between basement tectonics, salt tectonics and sedimentation during the Late Cretaceous basement reactivation in the center of the Santos Basin. The study area is a seismic volume 60 x 30 km² in area, augmented by 2D regional seismic lines. The results of seismic interpretation and structural restorations revealed important inversions in the Late Cretaceous, including inversion of an NNE-oriented aborted rift segment known as Merluza Graben. The following tectono-stratigraphic evolution was inferred. During the Albian, basin subsidence and differential loading by the overburden caused salt to flow basinwards. In the Late Turonian, intraplate compression resulted in uplift of the onshore and proximal areas of the Santos Basin and in a newly recognized basement inversion in deep water. ENE and NNE oriented structures were reactivated. The uplift exposed the Turonian shelf and a new shelf began to prograde. The first shelves were narrow (~25 km wide) but enlarged to 60 km in the Santonian. Salt influenced the position of the shelf break and the progradation pattern of the shelf margin. Because of the continuous accommodation space provided by salt withdrawal underneath the sedimentary wedge, the shelf margin aggraded until underlying salt welded, after which the shelf prograded to a position around 50 km to the east of the present-day shelf break. Deformation peaked in the Late Santonian when the shelf was widest, the rate of progradation of the shelf margin was anomalously high, and transtension along the borders of the Merluza Graben allowed Late Santonian magma to intrude. Salt acted as a partial seal, causing a large part of the magma to spread beneath it. Some magma formed sills inside the evaporitic layer, intruding zones of dilation in the salt. Magma also followed the top of the evaporitic layer and intruded salt-related faults as dikes. These dikes supplied sills in the overburden and extrusive flows emerged on the Late Santonian seafloor from ENE-striking transtensional zones. Right-lateral reactivation of the Merluza Graben borders slightly compressed the graben, which favored sill injection in Coniacian/Santonian strata. Tectonic activity diminished towards the end of the Cretaceous.