Vol. 46 No. 2 (2007)

Submarine topography and faulting in Bahía de Banderas, Mexico

Published 2007-04-01


  • Bahía de Banderas,
  • estructura de semi-graben,
  • Cañón de Banderas,
  • MDE submarino,
  • cuenca de extensión
  • Bahía de Banderas,
  • half-graben structure,
  • Banderas canyon,
  • submarine DEM,
  • extensional basin

How to Cite

Alvarez, R. (2007). Submarine topography and faulting in Bahía de Banderas, Mexico. Geofísica Internacional, 46(2), 93-116. https://doi.org/10.22201/igeof.00167169p.2007.46.2.20


A digital elevation model of Bahía de Banderas and its offshore continuation to the Middle America Trench (MAT) is built from a data set of 6872 bathymetric soundings. Two new, offshore basins and several, previously unknown faults within the bay are also identified. The south flank of Banderas canyon is considerably steeper than the north one. This asymmetry and the seismic activity present lead to propose that Banderas Canyon has a half-graben structure of the fault growth type, and reverse drag geometry, which originates in an extensional basin oriented N-S. The canyon is divided in two sections that trend in different directions. The older section of the canyon, trending E-W, is probably Late Miocene; the associated Banderas Fault is suggested to extend westward, down to the MAT along a section that complements that of the half-graben. The section of Banderas Canyon trending NE and continuing into Banderas Valley is identified as a younger portion of the structure. The older and the younger portions of the canyon appear to be active presently. A group of faults also trending NE seem to be associated with the change in direction of the canyon. These results support the hypothesis that the structure of Banderas Canyon is a half-graben, and strengthen the idea that it is the limit between the region to the north that underwent extension in the Miocene, and the region to the south that did not experienced it.