The Falcón Basin in northwestern Venezuela has a complex geological history driven by the interactions between the South American and Caribbean plates. Igneous intrusive bodies that outcrop along the axis of the basin have been associated with crustal thinning, and gravity modeling has shown evidence for a significantly thinned crust beneath the basin. In this study, crustal scale seismic refraction/wide-angle reflection data derived from onshore/offshore active seismic experiments are interpreted and forward-modeled to generate a P-wave velocity model for a ∼450 km long profile. The final model shows thinning of the crust beneath the Falcón Basin where depth to Moho decreases to 27 km from a value of 40 km about 100 km to the south. A deeper reflected phase on the offshore section is interpreted to be derived from the downgoing Caribbean slab. Velocity values were converted to density and the resulting gravimetric response was shown to be consistent with the regional gravity anomaly. The crustal thinning proposed here supports a rift origin for the Falcón Basin.
- Crustal structure
- Falcón basin