Kendall, J., Vergés, J., Koshnaw, R., & Louterbach, M. (2019). Petroleum Tectonic comparison of fold-thrust belts: the Sevier of the western US, the Pyrenees of Spain, the Zagros of Iraq and Iran, and the Beni Sub Andean of Bolivia. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 490, SP490-2018–2102.


Petroleum tectonic analysis of convergent orogenic systems provides an audit of the processes that control the deformation and kinematics of orogenic belts. The Zagros is a flexural orogen with multiple stacked sources ensuring continuous hydrocarbon generation while stacked detachments foster a low taper and thick wedge-top basins. The Pyrenees is also a flexural orogen but the early consumption of its source rocks led to minimal survival of hydrocarbon accumulations during exhumation in a long lasting, high-taper orogen. The Sevier was initially a flexural system that was later dominated by dynamic processes. The consumption of its pre-tectonic sources during the early low-taper phase indicates a robust petroleum system. However, the late high-taper phase exhumed much of the early system. The Beni orogen is a flexural system with probable dynamic overprints. Its most robust petroleum system probably occurred during its early low-taper flexural phase, with probable dynamic subsidence enhancement. Its late high-taper system with possible dynamic uplift stresses the petroleum systems. Comparison of these orogenic systems illustrates the importance of source rock distribution vs shortening, flexural versus dynamic processes, orogenic wedge taper kinematics, mechanical stratigraphy, and inherited architecture on the creation, preservation, and destruction of petroleum accumulations in fold and thrust belts.

Reference article

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