Gravimetric and geologic data show that the reactivation of the Neogene Interandean depression and/or the ~75-65 Ma ophiolite suture into the modern dynamic of the Andes controlled the Gulf of Guayaquil Tumbes basin (GGTB) location and evolution during the past 1.8-1.6 Myr at least. Depending on whether the remobilization occurred along the interandean depression or the ophiolite suture, the GGTB evolved trough pure or simple shear mechanisms, respectively. Because the GGTB exhibits an along strike tectonic asymmetry associated with a pervasive seismic gap, the simple shear solution is more likely. Tectonic inversion occurred along a mid-crust detachment (the Mid-Crust detachment hereafter) matching the ophiolite suture that accommodates the North Andean Block (NAB) northward drift. The so-called Decoupling Strip located at the shelf slope break accommodated the tensional stress rotation from N-S along the shelf area i.e. NAB-drift inducedto E-W along the continental margin i.e. subduction-erosion-induced. The landward dipping Woollard detachment system located at the Upper-Lower slope boundary connects the subduction channel at depth, allowing the Upper slope to evolve independently from the Lower slope wedge. The long-term recurrence interval between earthquakes, the strong interplate coupling, and the aseismic creeping deformation acting along the main low-angle detachments i.e. the Woollard and the Mid-Crust detachments may account for the pervasive seismic gap at the GGTB area. Because the subduction channel exhibits no record of significant seismic activity, no evidence exists to establish a link between the GGTB sustained subsidence and a basin-centered asperity. Because the GGTB is a promising site of hydrocarbon resources, to understand processes at the origin of this escape-induced forearc basin has a major economic interest.
Cite this paper
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