Neuquén Basin

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Map of Vaca Muerta Formation in Neuquén Basin. The formations extent mimics that of the basin. Colors indicate hydrocarbon maturity as measured by vitrinite reflectance.

Neuquén Basin is a sedimentary basin covering most of Neuquén Province in Argentina. The basin originated in the Jurassic and developed through alternating continental and marine conditions well into the Tertiary. The basin bounds to the west with the Andean Volcanic Belt, to the southeast with the North Patagonian Massif and to the northeast with the Sierra Pintada System.[1]

Jurassic and Cretaceous marine transgressions from the Pacific are recorded in the sediments of Neuquén Basin. These marine sediments belong to Cuyo Group, Tordillo Formation, Auquilco Formation and Vaca Muerta Formation.[2] In the Late Cretaceous conditions in the neighboring Andean orogeny changed. A marine regression occurred and the fold and thrust belts of Malargüe (36°00 S), Chos Malal (37° S) and Agrio (38° S) started to develop in the Andes and did so in until Eocene times. This meant an advance of the Andean orogenic deformation since the Late Cretaceous that made the western part of Neuquén Basin to stack in the Malargüe and Agrio fold and thrust belts.[2][3] In the south of Mendoza Province the Guañacos fold and thrust belt (36.5° S) appeared and grew in the Pliocene and Pleistocene consuming the western fringes of the Neuquén Basin.[2][3]


  1. ^ "Cuenca Neuquina". Secretaría de Energía (in Spanish). Government of Argentina. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Rojas Vera, Emilio Agustín; Orts, Darío L.; Folguera, Andrés; Zamora Valcarce, Gonzalo; Bottesi, Germán; Fennell, Lucas; Chiachiarelli, Francisco; Ramos, Víctor A. (2016). "The Transitional Zone Between the Southern Central and Northern Patagonian Andes (36–39°S)". In Folguera, Andrés; Naipauer, Maximiliano; Sagripanti, Lucía; Ghiglione, Matías C.; Orts, Darío L.; Giambiagi, Laura. Growth of the Southern Andes. Springer. pp. 99–114. ISBN 978-3-319-23060-3. 
  3. ^ a b Ramos, Víctor A.; Mahlburg Kay, Suzanne (2006). "Overview of the tectonic evolution of the southern Central Andes of Mendoza and Neuquén (35°–39°S latitude)". In Mahlburg Kay, Suzanne; Ramos, Víctor A. Evolution of an Andean Margin: A Tectonic and Magmatic View from the Andes to the Neuquén Basin (35–39°S lat). pp. 1–17.