Late Mesozoic and Cenozoic thermo-tectonic history of Eastern, Central and Southern Mexico as determined through integrated thermochronology, with implications for sediment delivery to the Gulf of Mexico

Published on 2020-05-25T16:14:58Z (GMT) by
A database of 134 apatite fission track, and apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He analyses has been assembled for eastern Mexico. Most of these samples have reset ages and track lengths reflecting rapid cooling. Time-temperature histories were modelled for 101 localities, and were converted to depth using a constant gradient of 30°C/km. Maps of these results reveal smooth temperature patterns in space and time, indicating that heating was due to regional burial, rather than hydrothermal circulation. Cooling began by 90 Ma in the west and 50 Ma along the eastern edge of the Sierra Madre Oriental. These ages mimic the duration of the Mexican orogeny, which verifies that most of these AFT ages have event significance. The elongate Mayrán basin, a part of the Mexican foreland basin system, formed and grew across and above the eastern toe of the active Sierra Madre Oriental. This basin subsided between at least 70 to ~40 Ma and reached a minimum depth of 6 kilometres. It was a both a catchment and routing system for sediment from US and Mexican sources. The shape of the basin suggests early outflow was directed through the Burgos Basin into the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). By 50 Ma, some outflow potentially routed southward through the Tampico Misantla basin area. The Mayrán basin subsided until 40 Ma, then it began to uplift and erode. This inversion mobilized the stored sediment and re-deposited it into the GOM, filling the offshore Bravo Trough. Volcanism swept eastward between 90 and 40 Ma, driven by northeastward-directed flat-slab subduction, which may also have driven the contraction. Local subsidence during contraction suggests there was dynamic pull–down created by the under-riding flat slab. Subsidence ceased at ~40 Ma, as volcanism swept back westward and asthenosphere replaced the flat slab. The crust rebounded, creating an ensuing period of massive erosion which peaked around 20 Ma. Southern Mexico was relatively quiet until rapid uplift began in Oaxaca in late Oligocene to early Miocene time. Uplift progressed eastward to the Chiapas Massif in the late Miocene, commensurate with the eastward translation of the Chortis block.

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Gray, Gary G.; Villagomez, Diego; Pindell, James; Molina-Garza, Roberto; O'Sullivan, Paul; Stockli, Daniel; et al. (2020): Late Mesozoic and Cenozoic thermo-tectonic history of Eastern, Central and Southern Mexico as determined through integrated thermochronology, with implications for sediment delivery to the Gulf of Mexico. Geological Society of London. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4991948.v1