Bahía de Banderas, Mexico: Morphology, Magnetic Anomalies and Shallow Structure

  • Carlos A. Mortera GutiérrezEmail author
  • William L. Bandy
  • Francisco Ponce Núñez
  • Daniel A. Pérez Calderón
Report-Top.Vol. : Geodynamics of the Latin American Pacific Margin
Part of the Pageoph Topical Volumes book series (PTV)


The Bahía de Banderas lies within a tectonically complex area at the northern end of the Middle America Trench. The structure, morphology, subsurface geology and tectonic history of the bay are essential for unraveling the complex tectonic processes occurring in this area. With this focus, marine geophysical data (multi-beam bathymetry, high resolution seismic reflection and total field magnetic data) were collected within the bay and adjacent areas during four campaigns aboard the B.O. EL PUMA conducted in 2006 and 2009. These data image the detailed morphology of, and sedimentation patterns within, the Banderas Canyon (a prominent submarine canyon situated on the south side of the bay) as well as the shallow subsurface structure of the northern part of the bay and the submarine Marietas Ridge, which bounds the bay to the west. We find that the Marietas Ridge is presently a transtensional feature; the course of the Banderas Canyon is controlled by extensive turbidite fan sedimentation in its eastern extremity and by structural lineaments to the west; the canyon floor is filled by sediments and exhibits almost no evidence for recent tectonic movements; the southern canyon wall is quite steep and a few sediments are deposited as submarine fans at the base of the southern wall; and extensive turbidite fans form the lower part of the northern canyon wall, producing a gently sloping lower northern wall. We find no evidence for a regional east–west striking lineament between the bay and the Middle America Trench, which casts doubts on the previous assertion that the Banderas Canyon is unequivocally related to the presence of a regional half-graben. Finally, a N71°E oriented normal fault offsets the seafloor reflector by 15 m within the central part of the bay, suggesting that the bay is currently being subjected to NNW–SSE extension.


Bahía de Banderas Banderas Canyon marine geophysics Canyon morphology subsurface structure multi-beam bathymetry 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos A. Mortera Gutiérrez
    • 1
    Email author
  • William L. Bandy
    • 1
  • Francisco Ponce Núñez
    • 2
  • Daniel A. Pérez Calderón
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de GeofísicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexicoMexico
  2. 2.Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y LimnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexicoMexico

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