The Neuquén Basin: An overview

John A. Howell*, Ernesto Schwarz, Luis A. Spalletti, Gonzalo D. Veiga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

345 Citations (Scopus)


The Neuquén Basin of Argentina and central Chile contains a near-continuous Late Triassic-Early Cenozoic succession deposited on the eastern side of the evolving Andean mountain chain. It is a polyphase basin characterized by three main stages of evolution: initial rift stage; subduction-related thermal sag; and foreland stage. The fill of the basin records the tectonic evolution of the central Andes with dramatic evidence for base-level changes that occurred both within the basin and along its margins. The record of these changes within the mixed siliclastic-carbonate succession makes the basin an excellent field laboratory for sequence stratigraphy and basin evolution. The 4000 m-thick fill of the basin also contains one of the most complete Jurassic-Early Cretaceous marine fossil records, with spectacular finds of both marine and continental vertebrates. The basin is also the most important hydrocarbon-producing province in southern South America, with 280.4 × 10 6 m 3 of oil produced and an estimated 161.9 × 10 6 m 3 remaining. The principal components of the hydrocarbon system (source and reservoir) crop out at the surface close to the fields. The deposits of the basin also serve as excellent analogues to reservoir intervals worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


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