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AUTHORS: Davide Casabianca (Apache, UK), Antoine Auzemery (Univ. La Salle-Beauvais, France), Andrea Barrier (Univ. La Salle-Beauvais, France, Angelo Ricciato (GEPlan Consulting, Italy), Raffaele Di Cuia (GEPlan Consulting, Italy)

YEAR: 2014

AAPG Confernce, Naples (Italy), March 2014

Session: Old and new petroleum plays in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic carbonates or Tectonic v.s. climatic control on carbonate depositional systems

Since the eighties several models have been proposed to describe geometries and evolution of the Apulian carbonate platform margins throughout Cretaceous and Tertiary times. The models, based on outcrop or subsurface datasets, can be broadly grouped in two main categories: either recognizing structurally controlled margins cut by syn-sedimentary faults active during the Cretaceous (Accarie, Accordi, Casabianca, Santantonio); or assuming passive paleo-escarpments hinerited from Triassic or Jurassic rifting and passively filled by Cretaceous to Tertiary sediments (Eberli, Rusciadelli).
Assuming models in line with the former or the latter category has very significant impacts on hypothesised margin geometries, sediment transport mechanisms, sediment distribution and consequently on the characteristics of potential exploration plays both on the platform and in the margins.
On the Maiella mountain (Italian Central Apennines) Cretaceous platform and basin facies outcrop extensively and offer an opportunity to study the geometry of the intervening margins. This work reports the findings obtained by a study undertaken mainly in the area of the Valle Tre Grotte – Valle dell’Inferno. The work included outcrops measurements, field samples collection and analysis, satellite images and limited reflection seismic profile interpretation.
The data collected during this study indicates that during the Cretaceous the platform margin was cut by a series of normal faults mainly north to north-west striking. The age of these faults is contrained by the thickening of Cretaceous sedimentary sections in their hanginwalls. These faults controlled the paleogeography of the Cretaceous platform and the entry points of the sediment flows transporting calciturbidites and catastrophic debris flows within the basin to the north of the platform where thick megabreccia bodies are observed. The megabreccia bodies and the calcareous turbidites intervals may represent interesting exploration targets in similar settings if their origin, distribution and extent is sufficiently constrained.
Further work is being planned for studying the Maiella margin in other key areas such as Valle dell’Orfento in order to ascertain variability of structural and depositional styles along the margin and the significance of few east striking faults the kinematics and age of which have not been constrained confidently.