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DEFORMATION PROCESSES IN THE ANDES

Collaborative research centre 267, Project C1

KINEMATIC EVOLUTION AND STRUCTURAL GEOMETRY OF THE CHILEAN PRECORDILLERA (21,5-23°S):
INVERSIONAL TECTONICS IN THE LATE CRETACEOUS-PALEOGENE MAGMATIC ARC
Andreas Günther, Michael Haschke, Klaus-J. Reutter and Ekkehard Scheuber SFB 267
Institut für Geologie, Geophysik und Geoinformatik, Freie Universität Berlin, email: anguen@zedat.fu-berlin.de

Tectonic setting:
The structural style of the Chilean Precordillera between 21,5-23°S reveals strong differences parallel and
Quebrada Sichal Quebrada Icanche
n=15 69°00´ n=12
perpendicular to the roughly N-S oriented trend of the Upper Cretaceous-Paleogene magmatic arc seated
σ3 in the Precordillera, therefore allowing a seperation of the study area into a nothern and a southern seg-

del Medio
ment: North of ~22,5° S (lat. of Calama) strong Upper Eocene (Incaic) contractional-transpressional tec-

Sierra
53,1+/-1,3 σ2 tonics are exposed wich caused the reverse faulting of basement-blocks both to the east and west onto
φ=0,28 σ2 φ=0,42 σ3 folded Mesozoic and Cenozoic strata (Figs 1 and 2). Incaic contraction is less developed in the region
38,5+/-0,6
45 volcanic dikes south of Calama, where only moderate folding in Jurassic sediments and a slightly tilting of Eocene
(Eocene)
Quebrada Arcas Fig. 2a volcanics can be observed. Incaic contraction was preceeded by strong tensional tectonics prior to arc-
n=20
emplacement in the northern segment as indicated by the formation of intramontane basins and the depo-
de Moreno

sition of continental clastics without magmatic intercalations at the Upper Cretaceous-Paleogene bounda-
El Abra- ry. This time-span in the southern segment was, in turn, already characterised by arc-volcanism wich mi-
σ1 Complex
grated into the northern segment in Eocene times, where it was concentrated in a narrower zone.
σ2
a

φ=0,14 22°00´
Sierr

22°00´

Quebrada Honda
0

arc-normal contraction transpression
Quebr. ChuqChuq 89 fold axes (shortening: ~32%) (shortening: ~10%) (total shortening: ~18%)

87 fold axes W Sierra del Medio Westfissure El Abra Cerro Colorado E
4km Sierra de Moreno 4km

2 2
40
Rio Loa

0 0
Fortuna-
Complex
-3km -3km
CHUQUICAMATA
Mina Chuqui 0 1 2 3 4 5 10 km
Rio San Salvador n=27 σ3
arc-normal contraction transpression
37 volcanic dikes
(Lower Cretaceous, rerot.) σ1 (shortening: ~14%) (total shortening: ~12%) (shortening: ~9%)
Fig.2b CALAMA W E
φ=0,28 Salvador-“anticline”
122+/-5 (older) Well Soledad Cerro Milo
2km 2km
n=48
22°30´ 22°30´ 1 1
Rio Loa σ3 0 0

80 φ=0,35

σ1 (younger) -3km -3km
Rio Loa 0 1 2 3 4 5 10 km
on Verde

n=25 σ2
Limon Verde Figure 2: Geological cross-sections through the studied area (for legend and location: Fig.1)
σ3
Sierra Lim

σ1
n=15
Deformation history:
φ=0,9 σ1 The timing of structural evolution could be seperated in four phases, where the latter three roughly coin-
φ=0,29
(older) cide with the cenozoic development of the andine convergence system (Fig. 3).
0

80
40

n=17
Preandean development: -Formation of crustal inhomogeneties due to Permian graben-setting (1)
σ3
-Origin of mayor fault-zones (2)
23°00´ φ=0,37
23°00´
-First exhumation of the basement of Sierra de Moreno
σ1 (younger)
Peru Bolivia
69°00´ Preincaic rifting: -Extensional fabrics and paleostress-reconstructions evidence different
Migmatites, metamorphic rocks Volcanics Marine sediments
(Precambrian-Paleozoic) (Permian-Triassic) (Jurassic) tensional tectonic regimes from Lower Cretaceous times on (Fig.1)
Granites, granodiorites Clastics Fluviatile sandstones
(Carboniferous-Permian) (Devonian-Carboniferous) (Late Jurassic-early Cretaceous) -Horst-and-graben topography in northern segment could be inferred
Study area Tonalites, Granodiorites
(Cenomanian-Middle Eocene)
Red Gravels
(Upper Cretaceous-Palaocene)
Granodiorites-dacites
(Upper Eocene-Oligocene) from intramontane-basin evolution
Andesites Volcanics Gravels Hydrothermal
(Cretaceous) (Eocene) (Oligocene-Miocene) alteration
Incaic contraction/ -Strain-partitioning from arc-normal contraction in the W to arc-parallel
Chile Argentina Anticline axis Syncline axis Reverse fault Fault
0 5 10 20km transpression: transpression in the E of northern segment as deduced from analyses
80 Residual gravity (*10-5m/s2) 38,5+/-0,6 radiometric age-datings (Ma)

of contractional fabrics and paleostress-reconstructions (Fig.1)
Figure 1: Geological map of the studied area with normalised paleostress-ellipsoids and stereographic -Contraction at backarc-boundary in southern segment (3)
plots of fold axes (density distribution diagrams) and volcanic dikes (orientation roses). Reduced paleo- -N-S strain-transfer due to dextral ENE strike-slip at lat. 22,5°S
stress tensors were derived from fault-stria data-pairs using the direct inversion method of (8). Also plotted: Postincaic reversal: -Decreasing covergence at ~33Ma causes decoupling of upper and
Selected radiometric age datings of magmatic rocks (own K/Ar, Ar/Ar after 9) and isolines of the Central
lower plate and inversion of the local stressfield in the area of the
Andes residual gravity field according to (10).
Westfissure wich changed in movement-sense from dextral to sinistral (4)
Late Paleozoic-early Cenozoic rifting Upper Eocene-Oligocene inversion
arc-normal con- arc-normal
5a: Upper Eocene (?~40Ma): Orogen-normal contraction
vergence obliquity (°) convergence rate (cm/a)
1. Late Carboniferous (~?300Ma) 27,6% model shortening
20

40

60

10

20
15
erosional rotating
0

LVFZ nucleating 0

5
nucleating SMBF
surface SMM SMBF
0 0
age (Ma)

age (Ma)
SMBF: Sierra de Moreno Border-Fault
LVFZ: hypothetical Longitudinal Valley
Fault-Zone
SMEF: Sierra del Medio East-Fault 10 10
~2km
Pluton emplacements not considered,
20 20
?
?poss. 80-90Ma Peruvian contraction
not considered postinkaic strike-slip reversal
2. Upper Jurassic (~150 Ma) ~8,5%
30 30
Jurassic marine sediments
arc-parallel dextral strike-slip
?
40 arc-normal contraction 40
5b: Upper Eocene (~40Ma): Orogen-parallel transpression
SMFT 9% model shortening
? ?
SMM 50 50
CJM

60
preincaic rifting 60
3. “Middle” Cretaceous (~100 Ma) ~17,8%
LVFZ
Lower Cretaceous volcanics
70 70
10

15
0

5

half spreading-
rate (cm/a)
?
Figure 3: Timing of Incaic deformation events related to the evolution of plate-convergence at he South
6: Oligocene (?~35Ma): continuing transpression
reutilised Incaic unconformity American continental margin. Gray lines: reconstructions after (5), black lines: Obliquity and half-spreading
SMT SMBF (38,5 Ma)
? SMFT WFFS
(total model
shortening:
rates of the Pacific-Farallon (Nazca)-rise after (6). Note that increasing of sea-floor spreading occured
4. Middle Eocene (~45Ma) (total model
17,3%) significantly later than the increasing of the convergence rate after the reconstructions of (5).
Upper Cretaceous- lenghening: 45,3%)
Paleoge ~13,6%
LVFZ
SMBFred beds (syn-rift) SMEF
Conclusions:
Upper Eocene volcanics (post-rift)
The heterogenities in the structural setting of the Precordillera in the studied area are mainly caused by
strong tensional tectonics wich affected the northern segment before the onset of arc-volcanism and wich
are interpreted according to the NW-propagation of the Salta-rift during the Upper Cretaceous. Incaic shor-
SMM: Sierra de Moreno Monocline SMFT: Sierra Medio Frontal Thrust
tening was restricted to the relatively narrow zone of the magmatic arc in the northern segment, wheras it
CJM: Cerro Jaspe Monocline
WFFS: West-Fissure Fault System
SMT: Sierra de Moreno Thrust
was transferred to the backarc-transition in the southern segment (Fig.5). This strain-transfer might have
~2km
been facilitated by the presence of a dense body in the upper crust in the SE-part of the studied area, ac-
?
ting as a mechanical “free-face”. Incaic shortening in the northern segment concentrated with depht into
the central zone of the magmatic arc wich acts as a subvertical zone of crustal weakness, where ductile de-
Figure 4: From extension to contraction: Conceptual forward-modelling of Incaic structures in the northen formation occured at very shallow crustal levels (~7km). The bulk transpressive deformation-field was par-
segment. The resulting asymmetric bivergent structural setting probably orginated due to the oblique inver- titioned into arc-normal contraction in the W and arc-parallel transpression in the central zone of the arc
sion of a former down-stepping half-graben structure. Staircase up-stepping of Incaic reverse-faults cau- and caused the oblique inversion of the former half-graben setting (Fig.4). The resulting structural geometry
sed the progressive monoclinal flexuring of the western flanks of the paleo-horsts. Modelling was carried of the Precordillera thus appears like an assymetric positive flower-structure. South of 22,5°S FTB-like
out under plane-strain assumptions using the “fault-parallel flow” algorithm of the “2dmove”-sofware-pack- tectonics developed at the backarc-boundary. N-S-variations at ~22,5°S are still present in today´s struc-
age of Midland Valley Corporation. tural setting of the Central Andes and are expressed by the differences between Altiplano and Puna (7).
A: Late Cretaceous - Eocene (80-?40Ma) B: Eocene-Early Oligocene (?40-33 Ma) C: Oligocene (<33 Ma)
W “Pre-arc” rifting,
E ?Ancestral arica-
bend=buttress?
W Inner-arc contraction
E Oroclinal bending
W East-vergencies
persist
E
subsequent arc
emplacement
West-fissure References:
Horsts Intramontane basins ?Rigid buttress
Co. Jaspe
1) Breitkreuz, C. & Zeil, W. (1994): The late Carboniferous to Triassic volcanic belt in Chile. - In: Reutter, K.-J., Scheuber, E., Wigger, P. (Eds): Tectonics
Redbed-sedimentation, Dow Dow Dow
followed by Eocene
ngoi
ng p contractional ngoi
ng pla
ngoi
ng p
of the Southern Central Andes: p. 277-292.
late duplex te late
volcanics 2) Günther, A., Haschke, M. R., Reutter, K.-J. & Scheuber, E. (1997): Repeated reactivations of an ancient fault zone under changing kinematic konditions:
Lithosspäric Thinning? Sinistrally displaced the sierra-de-moreno fault system (SMFS) (N-Chilean Precordillera). - 8. Congr. Geol. Chileno abstracts, 1: p. 85-89.
El Abra-Fortuna
El Abra-Fortuna-
Brittle-ductile Complex 3) Charrier, R. & Reutter, K.-J. (1994): The Purilactis Group of Northern Chile: Boundary between Arc and Backarc from Late Cretaceous to Eocene. -
pull-apart
Alkaline Intrusions
transition In: Reutter, K.-J., Scheuber, E., Wigger, P. (Eds): Tectonics of the Southern Central Andes: p. 189-202.
?Relat. steep subduction
due to extension? 4) Reutter, K.-J., Scheuber, E. & Chong, G. (1996): The precordilleran fault system of Chuqucamata, northern Chile: evidence for reversals along arc-
~33Ma NNE-
strike-slip
parallel strike-slip faults. - Tectonophysics, v259, p. 213-228.
~22°30 ~22°30 ~22°30 5) Pardo-Casas, F & Molnar, P. (1987): Relative Motion of the Nazca (Farallon) and South American Plates since Late Cretaceous time. - Tectonics, 6/3: p. 233-248.
W E W E Basin formation
(collapse-structures)
W E 6) Mayes, C., Lawver, L. A. & Sandwell, D. T. (1990): Tectonic History and New Isochron Chart of the South Pacific. - J. Geophys. Research, 95/B6: p. 8543-8567.
?Block-translation
Dying arc Contraction at 7) Allmendinger, R. W., Jordan, T. E., Kay, S. M. & Isacks, B. L. (1997): The evolution of the Altiplano-Puna-Plateau of the Central Andes. -
Magmatic arc to NE? backarc-
Backarc-basin, transition
Ongoing thrusting
on backarc
Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 25: p. 139-174.
Slow convergence, Rapid convergence, Slow convergence,
high obliquity
interferences with
Salta-Rift? dextral obliquity dextral obliquity
8) Angelier, J. (1979): Determinattion of the mean principal directions of stress for a given fault population. - Tectonophysics, 56: p. T17-T26.
Dow
ngoi
(rotates clockwise) Rigid block, Dow
ngoi
Dow
ngoi
9) Döbel, R., Friedrichsen, H. & Hammerschmidt, K. (1992): Implications of 40Ar/39Ar-dating of early tertiary volcanic rocks of the North Chilean Precordillera. -
ng pl translates eastward ng pl ng p
Volcanic arc, shifting ate ate late Tectonophysics, 202: S. 55-81.
to northern segment 10) Kirchner, A. (1997): 3D- Dichtemodellierung zur Anpassung des Schwere- und Schwerepotentialfeldes der Zentralen Anden. - Berl. Geowiss. Abh.
during Eocene
Gravity Clockwise rotation Gravity
sagging of Andes sagging
?Relat. flat subduction
due to relat. broad
volcanic arc?

Figure 5: Schematic structural evolution of the precordillera in the studied area with regard to the differences in the structural setting N and S of
22,5°S. Left mapview, right cross-section view, respectively.