Origen y evolución de los rasgos morfotectónicos postcretácicos de México

Joaquin Eduardo Aguayo-Camargo

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología
Salvador Mario Cordova
Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo, subdirección de Tecnología de Exploración


The actual configuration of Mexico resulted of three major displacements and other minor ones working simultaneously during late Upper Cretaceous, Tertiary and Quaternary times: (1) The North America plate moving to the west and southwest. (2) The subduction of the Pacific plate dipping to the northeast. (3) The oceanic Caribbean plate drifting first to the northeast and later eastward.

Several prominent morphotectonic features are observed at the interior of the mainland and at its margins, such as: tensional and shear fractures and faults oriented NE 45-55 SW, and also thrust folding and faulting oriented to the north-northeast. These structural systems extend from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and they are associated with hot-water springs basic volcanic rocks, mineralised zones and seismic focus.

The structural features just described above, were caused during the assimilation of the oceanic Pacific Plate subducted by the mainland; the oceanic lithosphere is broken into discrete slabs by transform faults, each one descends during subduction into the mantle with different dip and strike. Their borders are reflected on the surface of the continent as high-angle strike slip faults and tensional fractures.

Other prominent geological providences developed due to the geodynamic of the three tectonic plates mentioned above, such provinces are: East Sierra Madre Sierra de Chiapas, Marginal Bassins, West Sierra Madre, Gulf of Tehuantepec, Gulf of California and Transmexican Volcanic Belt.