Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Seismic structure and stratigraphy of northern edge of Bahaman-Cuban collision zone

January 1, 1985

Common-depth-point (CDP) seismic reflection data in the southwestern Bahamas reveal the northern edge of the tectonized zone that resulted from the late Mesozoic-early Cenozoic collision of Cuba and the Bahamas. Two seismic facies are present: a basin facies and a shallow-water carbonate-platform facies. In Santaren Channel, between Cay Sal and the Great Bahama Bank, a 5-sec thick group of coherent flat-lying reflections is inferred to represent an accumulation of deep-water basinal carbonate deposits approximately 10 km thick. At the southern end of Santaren Channel and in Nicholas Channel toward the west, the basinal carbonate section thins abruptly and overlies zones that lack coherent reflections. These structureless zones, which are attended by positive gravity anoma ies, are inferred to represent shallow-water carbonate-platform materials. Neither seismic facies has associated short wavelength magnetic anomalies.

A 10-km broad anticline occurs at the south end of Santaren Channel. Platform carbonates in the core of this structure overlie Early Cretaceous and older basinal carbonate deposits and are onlapped by Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic basinal facies. The structure is inferred to be a hanging-wall anticline at the northern limit of the Cuban fold-thrust belt formed in the Late Cretaceous. In eastern Nicholas Channel, a 40-km broad, tilted block of platform carbonate material appears to have been uplifted prior to the latest Cretaceous. This feature is onlapped by Upper Cretaceous and Cenozoic deposits. A depositional-erosional carbonate-platform edge of Early Cretaceous age occurs in western Nicholas Channel at its juncture with the Straits of Florida. An Early Cretaceous platform margin at this location indicates that a deeper water embayment extended northward into the Straits of Florida, around northern Cay Sal Bank, and back into Santaren Channel during the Early Cretaceous.

Publication Year 1985
Title Seismic structure and stratigraphy of northern edge of Bahaman-Cuban collision zone
DOI 10.1306/AD462BD2-16F7-11D7-8645000102C1865D
Authors M. M. Ball, R. G. Martin, W. D. Bock, R. E. Sylwester, R. M. Bowles, D. Taylor, E. L. Coward, J. E. Dodd, L. Gilbert
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin
Index ID 70012743
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center