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Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127 – 155

Crustal lineament control on magmatism and mineralization in
northwestern Argentina: geological, geophysical, and remote
sensing evidence
Carlos J. Chernicoff a,*, Jeremy P. Richards b,1, Eduardo O. Zappettini c
Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), University of Buenos Aires and Argentine Geological and Mining Survey (SEGEMAR),
651 Julio A. Roca Avenue, 1322 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2E3
Argentine Geological and Mining Survey (SEGEMAR), 651 Julio A. Roca Avenue, 1322 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Received 1 September 2001; accepted 5 June 2002


The relationship between long-lived deep crustal lineaments and the locations of magmatic centers and associated mineral
deposits has been investigated in the Puna region of northwestern Argentina, through the analysis of regional aeromagnetic
surveys, Landsat images, and geological information. The good exposure and excellent preservation of basement and
supracrustal geology in this region makes it particularly suitable for such a study. At a regional scale, several contrasting
magnetic domains are recognized, which correlate with crustal geology. Two basement domains are separated by a NNE-
trending boundary, which is believed to correlate with a Paleozoic suture zone between the Pampia (to the southeast) and
Arequipa – Antofalla terranes (to the northwest). Locally overlying these basement terranes is the Cenozoic magmatic domain,
which is best developed in the N – S-trending volcanic arc at the western edge of the Puna (the Cordillera Occidental). In
addition, four southeast-trending volcanic zones extend for several hundred kilometers across the Puna. Many important
mineral deposits and areas of hydrothermal alteration are associated with these volcanic breakouts, and we have selected three
such areas for more detailed study: Bajo de la Alumbrera (Argentina’s largest porphyry copper deposit), Cerro Galán (the largest
ignimbrite caldera in Argentina, with associated hydrothermal alteration zones), and El Queva (a historic polymetallic district
located within a major volcanic range). A comparison of lineament maps generated from aeromagnetic and Landsat TM images
reveals broad correlation between these different remote sensing techniques, which respectively highlight subsurface magnetic
and surface geological features. In addition, the locations of magmatic and hydrothermal centers can be related to the interpreted
structural framework, and are seen to occur near the intersections of major lineament zones. It is suggested that in three
dimensions, such intersection zones form trans-lithospheric columns of low strength and high permeability during
transpressional or transtensional tectonic strain, and may thereby serve as conduits for magma ascent to the shallow crust.
Pooling of large volumes of deeply derived magma in shallow crustal magma chambers may then result in voluminous
devolatilization and the formation of hydrothermal mineral deposits. It is important to note that in this model, structural
intersections serve as facilitators for magma ascent and volatile exsolution, but do not in themselves cause this process—other

Corresponding author. Tel.: +54-11-4349-3148; fax: +54-11-4349-3171.
E-mail addresses: (C.J. Chernicoff), Jeremy.Richards@UAlberta.CA (J.P. Richards), (E.O. Zappettini).
Fax: +1-780-492-2030.

0169-1368/02/$ - see front matter D 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 1 6 9 - 1 3 6 8 ( 0 2 ) 0 0 0 8 7 - 2

128 C.J. Chernicoff et al. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155

factors such as magma supply rate and tectonic stress are essential primary ingredients, and local magmatic and volcanic
processes affect the ultimate potential for ore formation. Nevertheless, we suggest that lineament analysis provides a valuable
framework for guiding the early stages of mineral exploration; other regional and local geological considerations must then be
applied to identify priority targets within this framework.
D 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Puna; Argentina; Lineaments; Mineral deposits; Aeromagnetic surveys; Landsat TM

1. Introduction detail. We follow O’Leary et al. (1976, p. 1463) in
defining a lineament as ‘‘a mappable, simple or
The Puna of northwestern Argentina connects with composite linear feature of a surface, whose parts
the Altiplano of Bolivia (Fig. 1) to form the second are aligned in a rectilinear or slightly curvilinear
largest high-altitude plateau in the world after Tibet relationship which differs distinctly from the patterns
( f 500,000 km2, average height f 3.7 km above sea of adjacent features and presumably reflects a subsur-
level, with maximum elevations f 6.7 km and local face phenomenon.’’ Lineaments may thus represent
relief >3 km; Allmendinger, 1986). Crustal shortening exposed faults, but also unexposed structures or
associated with uplift of the plateau may have begun crustal discontinuities whose existence is inferred
as early as the Late Eocene (Coutand et al., 2001) but from indirect sensing methods and their control on
was established in the Puna by the Early Miocene topography and magmatic activity. We propose that
(Allmendinger et al., 1997). Basement blocks were these deep, in some cases, trans-lithospheric, and in
uplifted along major reverse faults at this time, and the many cases, ancient (i.e., pre-Andean), discontinuities
topographic expression of this geological framework represent planes of crustal weakness that may be
has been preserved in the arid conditions that have periodically reactivated and intruded during subse-
prevailed since the Pliocene (Kleinert and Strecker, quent tectono-magmatic events (Holdsworth et al.,
2001). Well-preserved also are the andesitic –dacitic 1997). As such, these zones may serve to localize
volcanic products of the Miocene – Quaternary magmatic-related ore-forming processes, with the
Andean orogeny. As such, this region provides an implication that lineament mapping might be used
excellent opportunity to investigate the role played by as an exploration guide for porphyry- and epithermal-
crustal structures in the localization of magmatism and type ore deposits.
related mineralization.
A combination of indirect sensing techniques
(aeromagnetic data and Landsat images) and geo- 2. Geology of the Puna
logical information has been used to define crustal-
scale lineaments in the Puna. The relationship The Altiplano – Puna (Figs. 1 and 2) is a region of
between these lineaments and geological features is thickened continental crust, reaching f 80 km near
explored, and a strong control on the regional distri- the Argentina– Chile – Bolivia border, and with litho-
bution of Andean volcanic activity is noted. Three spheric thicknesses of f 150 km beneath the Alti-
areas where a particularly clear relationship can be plano and f 100 km beneath the Puna (Beck et al.,
observed between regional lineaments and lineament 1996; Allmendinger et al., 1997). Much of the crust
intersections, and the loci of volcanic centers and appears to be felsic in composition, which, combined
associated hydrothermal systems, are examined in with its anomalous thickness, accounts for the high

Fig. 1. Regional geological sketch map of northern Chile, northwestern Argentina, and southwestern Bolivia, showing the locations of regional-
scale faults and lineaments (modified from Salfity, 1985; Salfity and Gorustovich, 1998), and the extent of Central Andean Miocene –
Pleistocene volcanic rocks. Also shown are the locations of major volcanoes and porphyry Cu deposits. Note that Salfity (1985) and Salfity and
Gorustovich (1998) used mapped faults, stratigraphic discontinuities and changes, volcanic lineations, and topographic features identified from
air and satellite images in their lineament interpretation (cf. Heyl, 1972).

C. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 129 . Chernicoff et al.J.

Boxes mark areas discussed in detail (from north to south: El Queva. Cerro Galán. Chernicoff et al. Bajo de la Alumbrera). / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 Fig.J.130 C. . 2. northwestern Argentina. Geological map of the Puna region.

1982. 1996). often isolated. Chernicoff et al. Coira et al. 1998) belong to the Arequipa –Antofalla ter.J. emplaced in the Pampia terrane during the Late . with theories for its near-orthogonal plate convergence assembly ranging from terrane accretion to intracra. 700 – 600 Ma) Rapela. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 131 elevation of the region (Allmendinger et al. Famatinian orogeny. but have been identified as xenoliths in Cen. composite (15 – 10 Ma) Puna – Altiplano (Quechua phase of Andean orogeny. Quaternary basins in Puna – Altiplano tary and evaporitic infillings.g. or an active margin (Coira et al. These basement rocks do not crop out in this Early Carboniferous Pampia terrane (Chanic phase of region. f 355 Ma) Ordovician Subduction-related granitoid intrusions ozoic ignimbrites. Late Eocene – Deformation and crustal shortening Early Oligocene in NE Puna (Incaic phase of Andean tonic evolution (e. 2000). Miocene – Quaternary Middle Miocene Crustal thickening in the northern volcanism produced large. Intraplate granites were affected the region in the mid-Paleozoic (Early Ordo. Back-arc alkaline reflect a cratonic origin with little magmatic addition syenites and granites in Puna (Lucassen et al.. Pankhurst and Rapela. 2000). 1999). 1982. Ramos. vician –Early Carboniferous. Bahlburg and Hervé. the Puna features Pliocene Crustal thickening in the southern Puna (Diaguita phase of Andean thrust-bounded basement blocks separated by inter- orogeny. it is not clear whether the basin formed as an intracratonic rift.7 Ma) montane basins. a fully developed passive margin. f 1. 2000). 1998.. Internally. A second orogenic phase. 1 and 2). and an extensive veneer of andesitic – Late Oligocene – Arc volcanism in Cordillera dacitic lava flows and ignimbrites (Figs. 1991. Ramos. Mon and Middle Eocene Rapid oblique (NE-directed) Salfity (1995) suggested that the various elements that convergence make up the current basement in the Puna region were Middle – Late Arc volcanism in Chilean Eocene Precordillera first assembled during the Late Proterozoic Panamer- Paleocene – Arc volcanism in Chilean ican orogeny (700 –600 Ma. A marine sedimentary Late Proterozoic to Pampia terrane lithologies Early Paleozoic basin developed between these blocks in the Early Early – Middle Arequipa – Antofalla terrane lithologies Cambrian. Ramos. and extended eastward to the present day Proterozoic (1900 – 980 Ma) Cordillera Oriental. orogeny.. 1998. separating the Arequipa –Antofalla Early Carboniferous terranes (Oclóyic phase of Famatinian terrane in the west from the Pampia terrane to the east. Dalziel. Pankhurst and (Panamerican orogeny. 1999). The plateau is bordered Summary of main tectonic events in the Central Andes of Chile and Argentina to the west by the Cordillera Occidental (the axis of Time Geological event and effect in the Puna the current magmatic arc) and to the east by the Cordillera Oriental. which is believed to underlie the western half of Late Devonian – Intraplate granites emplaced in the Puna. f 34 Ma). Accretion of the Arequipa – 600 – 520 Ma) Antofalla terrane is thought to have generated the Late Proterozoic First assembly of basement elements Pampean orogeny (600 – 520 Ma. and Early Cretaceous Atlantic opening. C. in Chile and western Puna 1997. (Faja Eruptiva de la Puna) A major NNE-trending boundary longitudinally Early Ordovician – Final docking of Arequipa – Antofalla divides the Puna.. orogeny. f 5. Arc volcanism Bahlburg and Breikreuz. the Famatinian cycle. Table 1). f 435 Ma) Late Proterozoic – Onset of accretion of Arequipa – which consists of Late Proterozoic to Early Paleozoic Cambrian Antofalla terrane (Pampean orogeny. 1999). However. Pankhurst and Early Cretaceous arc volcanism on western seaboard Rapela. 1999.. Table 1 Dorbath and Masson. 1997. which since the Middle Miocene Middle Miocene – Development of internal drainage have developed internal drainage and thick sedimen. basement is not well known.. Lucassen et al. The oldest basement rocks of Jurassic Back-arc granite emplacement in Puna Late Paleozoic – Andean cycle of subduction begins.4 Ga. the Central Andes (1900 – 980 Ma. Ramos.3 Ma) volcanoes. of Chile (La Negra magmatic arc) rane.2 to 1. Metamorphic Early Eocene Central Valley protolith model ages range from 2. Pb isotopic data show a link with the in the Arequipa – Antofalla terrane Amazonian craton to the north (Tosdal. 1986. rocks (750 –530 Ma). Quaternary Occidental and across Puna The pre-Mesozoic history of the Central Andean Late Oligocene Rapid ( f 15 cm/year).

clearly established by Jurassic times (Coira et al. Jordan and Alonso. Allmendinger et al.. and high but decreasing rates were sustained burg and Hervé (1997) suggest that the Famatinian until the end of the Miocene (Pardo-Casas and cycle was related to the final closure of the basin Molnar. Structural history dle – Late Eocene (Jordan and Gardeweg. An important suite of Oligocene Incaic orogeny... 1989.g.. 1991. Coutand et al. in plate interactions was related to the breakup of 1983... but may have begun as early as the Triassic produced fluvial and lacustrine (including evaporitic) or even Late Carboniferous (Damm et al. ening began in the northeastern Puna (Protocordil- ment of subduction-related calc-alkaline plutons to the lera Oriental) during the Late Eocene – Early south in the Sierras Pampeanas. 1989). magmatism in the Puna region was restricted to minor Llullaillaco). Coutand et al. commonly structurally con- Bahlburg and Hervé. 1987. featured a west-facing active margin on its western and continued through the Pliocene in the southern edge during the Ordovician (now the Cordillera Occi. laid the foundations for the Puna.. 1993). 1989). Crustal thickening separating the Arequipa – Antofalla and Pampia ter. 1997). Palacios et al. in extensional back-arc basins (Salta Group. 15 – 10 Ma. 1987. Central Valley of Chile during the Paleocene – Early Eocene. reached a maximum in the northern Puna and ranes at the end of the Ordovician (Oclóyic orogeny. Arequipa – Antofalla terrane. and carbonatites) El Queva. This fundamental change trolled.. A second episode of rapid ( f 15 cm/year). the sions (syenites.132 C. During this period.. 1986). 1994. and Ramos. Volcanism flared during the Negra magmatic arc. Bahlburg and Kraemer et al.. 1987. 1982.. Kraemer et al. following a period of apparently subduction-related Ordovician granitoid rapid oblique (NE-directed) plate convergence in intrusions crops out in a NNW-trending belt in the the mid-Eocene (Pardo-Casas and Molnar. Damm et near-orthogonal convergence began in the Late Oli- al. 2001). 1999). intermontane basins (Fig. 1985. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 Devonian –Early Carboniferous (the Chanic orogeny. along the main axis of the arc (e. Eruptiva de la Puna... Hammerschmidt et al. Gondwana (Dalziel. Jor- Cretaceous when Atlantic opening changed plate dan and Gardeweg. southwestern Puna into northern Chile (the Faja 2001). Jordan and Alonso. stratovolcanoes were constructed during this period 1986. on the present-day western seaboard of Chile (La Coutand et al. 1982). 1991. with axes located in the 1985.. and Kay (1993) have suggested that this late Neo- The Andean cycle of subduction of the Pacific gene deformation event was related to lithospheric plate beneath the western margin of Gondwana was delamination beneath the southern Puna. which Jordan and Gardeweg. and continued and Ramos. riebeckite granites. 2001).g. 1999). 1987. 1992). and Cerro Galán volcanoes. Bahlburg and Breikreuz (1991) and Bahl. 2. stretching from the Hammerschmidt et al. deposits within closed. 1982. 1989. 1997. Mpodozis Miocene in the Cordillera Occidental. Jordan et al. Palma et al.. or Protopuna. the Late Oligocene (Coira et al.. and Marquillas. (1993) and Kay Hervé. Sparks et al. gocene. Fig. Large andesitic – dacitic motions and caused a hiatus in magmatism (Dalziel. Antofalla. 1999). Puna (Diaguita phase. 1998). Neogene– Quaternary sedimentation in the Puna 1982). dental. 1999). Chernicoff et al. 1990).. 1986. 2.g. 1982. Altiplano during this period (the mid-Miocene Que- Allmendinger et al. and also along southeast-trending trans- volcanic activity with associated small alkalic intru.. which operated until the Early sporadically into the Quaternary (Thorpe.. Cerro Galán. Riller et al. progressively eastwards in response to a shallowing Coira et al. 1997). Deformation and crustal short- (1998) report the Early – Middle Ordovician emplace... Siebel et al. 1989). Mpodozis Page and Zappettini.1. Somoza. verse eruptive zones that cut across the Puna (e. Jordan and Gardeweg. Coira et al.. Several centers developed collapse calderas during Throughout the Cenozoic. Koukharsky. 1992. 1984. the Chilean Precordillera during the Mid.J.. Coira et al. Bahlburg and Breikreuz. 1995. 2001).. the volcanic arc moved eruption of large ignimbrite sheets (e. 2001. and then moving to The pre-Cenozoic structural architecture of the its present location in the Cordillera Occidental by Puna basement is dominated by the NNE-trending . Alonso et al. Welding of these terranes chua phase of the Andean orogeny. Salfity 1. A volcanic arc was built Vandervoort et al. of the angle of subduction. 1989.. Socompa. whereas Pankhurst et al..

Minor amounts of N – S extension occurred mented a spatial association between porphyry Cu at the northern and southern margins of the plateau mineralization at La Escondida. Marrett et al. along which basement blocks were uplifted (Marrett 1987. 1992. and topographic features. Coutand et al. Tomlinson and Blanco. linear arrays of magmatic features (intru- Sack. 1999).. see below).. 1 was produced Pliocene.J.. the Late Eocene– Early Oligocene reached a peak in the Miocene. Chernicoff et al... important NW.. suggesting either that the Puna At shallow crustal levels. crustal deformation was relatively thin-skinned and 1982. east (Dorbath and Masson. 1997. Coira et ments that can be traced from the Pacific coast of al.. 1983. 1983. 1997).to NW-directed extension along maps. upper barca. wards to the currently active Cordillera Occidental. 1995. 2000) or by material The presence of such underlying structures can never- tectonically eroded at the subduction zone to the west theless be inferred from alignments of secondary (Baby et al. Salfity. Several basement.. Jordan et al. while reactivated NW.. 1985. Alonso et al. volcanic and other surfi- has been underthrust by cratonic material from the cial deposits commonly obscure deep-seated faults. 1997). 1983. Puna—NW-. Salfity. and these arcs (e. Kraemer et al. Matteini et al.. as noted above. Jordan et al. trench-parallel arcs. by Salfity (1985) on this basis using air photographs tures changed to strike – slip. magmatic heat serves to weaken the crust and localize Estimates of upper crustal shortening are not as strain.. the Calama – Olacapato– El Toro.. 1999).. but preexisting structures also serve to focus extensive as might be expected from the observed magma ascent. and into the In summary. appear to have been concentrated in the lower crust. (Davidson et al. as well as existing geological shortening. Archi- strain in the Puna during the Andean orogeny. 2001). respectively relationship is unsurprising.and NE-trending transverse linea- ments that cut across the Puna and extend westward 2. only 10 – 15%. 1992. and Emerman. and N. providing a feedback mechanism degree of crustal thickening (e.. 1983. 1999). 1993). Richards et al.2. Lindsay et al.g. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 133 suture zone between the Arequipa –Antofalla and the nonpenetrative. sions. faulting in such settings are interrelated processes: 1985. because plutonism and (Allmendinger et al.. Chile. 1983. Tectonism related to crustal thickening began during Where erosion has exposed the intrusive levels of the Late Eocene – Early Oligocene Incaic orogeny. motion along the main NNE-trending struc. and crustal thickening processes Pampia terranes (roughly defined by the western out. Allmendinger et al. 1984. 1997.. 1999.g. a NW-trending structural corridor (the Archibarca and NE-trending faults acted as transfer structures lineament) with the N – S West Fissure Zone. (2001) docu- al. or that magmatic addition to the features. the map reveals several transverse linea- rett and Emerman. volcanoes). C... 1989. 2).. 1994. and Culampajá lineaments. 1983. 2001). More specifically. The During the Diaguita deformational phase in the regional lineament map shown in Fig.g. such as stratigraphic discontinuities or facies crust has been volumetrically important (James and changes. Lineaments and structural controls on magma- into Chile also appear to have originated in the tism and mineral deposits Paleozoic (Allmendinger et al. Mar. across the Cordillera Occidental. NNE-. which young progressively east- Allmendinger et al. 1994.. Coutand et 1997). although there is ample evidence for Puna (e.. In addition to major orogen-parallel structural secondary structures (Allmendinger et al. Coutand et al. Kraemer et al. crop limit of Precambrian rocks in Fig. This with sinistral and dextral displacements.. . This Furthermore. 2001). and NE-trending faults—all and forms a key element in the delineation of uplifted appear to have had antecedents in the Paleozoic basement blocks and intermontane basins. the main structural elements in the structural grain was reactivated during the Cenozoic. close relation- During this period. ESE shortening across the Puna ships between plutonism and orogen-parallel strike – was accommodated by NNE-trending thrust faults slip faulting can be observed (Baker and Guilbert. Mesozoic and Cenozoic magmatism in northern The Cenozoic deformation history of the Puna has Chile and Argentina defines a series of approximately been studied in detail by a number of authors (e. corridors. Vigneresse and Tikoff.. Jordan et al.g. and the intersection of (Allmendinger et al... porphyry Cu belt in northern Chile).or NE-directed and satellite images. with E.

L.) Tusaquillas and Liquinaste (W) Granite.) Piedra Calzada (Bi) Pegmatite (26j48VS. Au – Sb veins equivalents sandstones weakly magnetic.L. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 intrusions Rangel District (Th-ETR) Carbonatites Moderately magnetic (23j30VS.).L.L. Pozuelos dacites. andesites. 67j12VW. 66j17VW.. andesites. and magnetic signature of significant mineral deposits of the Puna Deposit examples Deposit type Age Tectonic setting Lithologic unit Lithology Magnetic signature Santa Catalina-Rinconada district Mesothermal Ordovician Talus deposits Acoyte f..L.) associated granites Complex and surrounded by a rim of veins equivalents low gradient Descubridora de Los Aparejos Skarn (Cu) (27j42VS..). 66j51VW.) intensity derived from the underlying Precambrain basement Grupo La Mesada (W) Granite. geological environment.. 66j01VW. Complex and ignimbrites and equivalents .) associated Cretaceous magmatism Rangel ff.L. 66j56VW.L. Valle dacitic porphyries.. deposits and Cuarcita pelites weakly magnetic..L.L. 67j44VW.) generally moderate Mina Aguilar Sedex Ordovician Syn – rift Lampazar Quarzites and Nonmagnetic to (23j12VS.L. 66j15VW.L. 134 Table 2 Location.L.. and Quarzites and Nonmagnetic to (Au) (22j25VS.L.L. High regional (23j38VS.L.. Ancho ff. characteristics.L.L. 68j24VW. 66j17VW.L. Incahuasi (Au) Regional intensity (25j27VS.L. 66j30VW.J.) and associated with linear WNW- veins trending fabric Taca Taca (Cu – Mo) Porphyry Cu Paleogene Magmatic arc Santa Inés Rhyodacitic and Moderately magnetic (24j35VS.) polymetallics Miocene Arizaro. and ignimbrites Pirquitas (Sn – Ag) Bolivian-type Middle Magmatic arc Cordón de Rhyodacitic and Moderately magnetic (22j42VS. La Colorada (polymetallic) Aguilar ff. equivalents dacites.L. Jurassic – Back arc Tusaquillas and Granites.. 65j42VW. Carboniferous Post-orogenic Llullaillaco Granites Moderately magnetic (26j58VS.L.) Complex and dacitic porphyries.L. Chernicoff et al. weakly magnetic veins and intraplate alkaline C.. Syenites Nonmagnetic to (23j15VS.

(27j22VS.L...L.L.) 135 . 66j08VW. 66j28VW..L.L.).L.L. 67j50VW..).L.L.).L.L. transition type Pan de Azúcar (Pb – Zn – Ag – Sb) (22j32VS.).L. 66j34VW.L.L.Cerro Redondo (Au) Epithermal and (22j23VS.L. 66j40VW. Agua Rica (Cu – Mo – Au) Complex and dacites. 66j45VW. 67j20VW.L.L. 66j17VW. 66j08VW. 68j21VW. 66j16VW. Chinchillas (Pb – Ag – Zn) (22j30VS.).L. Chernicoff et al. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 Cóndor (Au) Placers Pleistocene – Alluvial and Sands and gravels No signal at (22j25VS.L....L.. Tecar Dacites and Magnetic.).L.L.L. Pairique (Au – Sn) (22j53VS.L.). El Queva District (Pb – Ag – Sb) (24j16VS.L.) La Casualidad (S) Epithermal Pliocene – Magmatic arc Inca.L.)..L..).) Farallón Negro (Au – Mn) Epithermal (27j18VS.) type iron deposits C.).. and Cu – Au Farallón Negro dacitic porphyries.L. equivalents and ignimbrites Inca Viejo (Cu) (25j09VS.. Holocene colluvial deposits regional coverage Pircas (Sn – Au) (22j43VS.J..) Bajo de La Alumbrera (Cu – Au) Porphyry Cu – Mo Upper Miocene Magmatic arc Agua Caliente f.L.. andesites.). Concordia (Pb – Ag – Zn) (24j12VS. Ignimbrites La Salteña (Fe) El Laco (24j05VS.. La Hoyada (Cu—Pb—Ag—Zn) (26j55VS. 66j25VW.L. 67j50VW.) and equivalents basalts.L.L. 66j27VW.). 66j38VW. Antofalla (Ag—Zn – Pb) (25j40VS. type Capillitas (Pb – Zn – Ag – Cu – Au) (27j20VS. 66j23VW. high (25j26VS.. 66j01VW. 66j50VW.L. Rhyodacitic and Moderately magnetic (27j19VS...L.L.L. type Holocene Voclanic andesites with magnetic gradient Tocomar (travertine) complexes in thin interlayed (24j11 S.

1986. Keating and Zerbo.3. tism generated the large Bajo de la Alumbrera por- which suggest a structural control on localization of phyry Cu – Au deposit. 1985. The surveys were flown with fixed- geology are of particular value.g. The RTP Caffe and Coira. Together. 150.. 1999). beginning with Paleogene magnetic intensity reduced to the pole (RTP. mineralization (Pirquitas. Processing and interpretation of the aeromag- Sureda and Martı́n. Each layer focuses on differ- volcanism (Pairique. Mina Julia).000 line kilometers and cover an area of region by young volcanic and sedimentary rocks ren. geological environment. Capillitas. 1998). These However. Sander Geophysics. potassic magma- trending volcanic breakouts from the main arc axis. 1985. analytic signal (or total gradient). Baldis (1980). Table 2 summarizes the wing aircraft at 1 km line spacing and 150 m nominal location. they comprise northern Chile. Zappettini and Segal. the greatest metallogenic diversity layers included the total magnetic intensity. characteristics. the Santa Catalina-Rinconada and Incahuasi close inspection of a number of layers of information districts. by Garcı́a (1969). Coira. Pb –Ag – Zn The total magnetic intensity data were reduced polymetallic mineralization (Pan de Azúcar. 1999).1. Zappettini and Segal. and ods that can be used to detect or predict underlying Sial Geosciences. and Au porphyries (Cerro Redondo. and El Queva. porphyry Cu mineralization at Taca Taca (Rojas et al. 3. 1999). in magnetic signatures of significant mineral deposits of many cases. Llullaillaco. 1999). and Bassi (1992).136 C.J. 4) of the total magnetic inten- Miocene epithermal Au deposits associated with felsic sity reduced to the pole. 1997. derived from the original magnetic profiles. Caffe and anomalies above their sources. Concor. (Silva. bert. Thus. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 Salfity. Fig. north (La Hoyada. ition were World Geoscience. 1975. cantly higher than the nominal terrane clearance. 1998. Chernicoff and Zappettini. Ordovician sedimentary-exhalative (SEDEX) Pb – Zn – Ag deposits (e.000 km2... polymetallic deposits similar to those found to the Schreiber and Schwab. Sev. Rubinstein et al.. Bolivian-type tin ent aspects of the magnetic signatures of the region. 2001). 2000). when working in areas of low magnetic latitude Chabert. total occurred in the Cenozoic. 1999). Historically important native and analytic signal (total gradient) layers were sulfur deposits also occur in fumarolic alteration zones mainly used to delineate litho-magnetic domains. Fig. The relationship between linea. 1999). Chernicoff et al. netic survey 1998) and Bendigo-type mesothermal Au vein depos- its in metamorphosed Ordovician turbiditic sequences Analysis of the aeromagnetic survey data involved (e.. within the peaks of Miocene– Quaternary stratovolca.. and mineralization was emphasized Clark. to the pole in order to reposition the magnetic dia. Cu – Au porphyry deposits (Inca Viejo. Sillitoe. and terrane clearance. and followed by derivative (FVD. Farallón Negro. remote sensing meth. 3. Aeromagnetic survey of the Puna 2. including during the surveys. Metallogeny The Puna aeromagnetic survey is the integration of There seems to be no clear geological reason why three different regional surveys carried out by the the mineralization potential of the Argentine Puna Servicio Geológico Minero Argentino (SEGEMAR) should not match that of neighbouring districts in between 1996 and 1999. which constitute areas of similar magnetic signature noes (e. and first vertical 1999. 1991. and localized smaller magmatism. 3). margin of the Puna in the transition zone to the region eral of these lineaments coincide with southeastward. but extensive blanketing of the Puna nearly 170. 1999). Due to the rugged topography.. Aguilar and La Colorada. 1990. The Paleozoic basement of the Puna is host to a Gamma-ray spectrometry data were also acquired number of different mineral deposit types. the altitude above ground was signifi- the Puna. Matteini et al. Antofalla. Chayle. Figueroa (1971). a necessary step Coira.g. structure. Müller and Forrestal. of flat-slab subduction (26 –30jS). Guil- Riller et al. The contractors involved in the acquis- ders exploration difficult. 1996).g. as observed in Chile (Salfity. 1985. Near the southern that can be interpreted to belong to a particular . Sasso and ments.

Inset: 2-km upward continued total magnetic intensity reduced to the pole of same area. Chernicoff et al.J. . 1996 – 1999. 3. Data from SEGEMAR aeromagnetic surveys. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 137 Fig. Total magnetic intensity reduced to the pole of the Puna. C.

/ Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 Fig.J. Chernicoff et al. First vertical derivative of the total magnetic intensity reduced to the pole of the Puna. 4. .138 C.

Salfity. which is characterized by a regional magnetic high with low gradient. Magnetic lineament interpretation 3. 5). The main axis of Cenozoic relate. 3). Three 3 and 4). thrusts. intensity that is lower than the average for the rest 1984. and the Cenozoic denced by their presence in deeper ‘‘slices’’ of the magmatic arc (Fig. These The Cenozoic magmatic arc is distinguished from lineaments are interpreted to represent deep crustal the other domains by its conspicuously high magnetic structures that have been selectively reactivated in the gradient (Fig. this domain is well constrained crop areas of the lithological units to which they by outcrop geology. because the magnetic basement is extensively magmatism lies along the border between Chile and covered by nonmagnetic supracrustal sediments. and spondence of several NNE-trending lineaments with is characterized by a predominantly low magnetic the boundary between the Precambrian – Early Cam- gradient derived from Ordovician sedimentary rocks. In addi.. Four main groups of lineaments can be the inferred Pampia terrane occupy the southeastern recognized from this analysis: part of the region. 1985).3. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 139 lithological unit (Fig. observed in Chile (Behn. see inset in Precambrian – Early Cambrian basement rocks of Fig.. A similar situation has been highlights contrasts and changes in magnetic intensity. 3)..J.and ENE-trending lineaments the Bendigo-type gold vein deposits (Rinconada and This group comprises structures of a broad range of Incahuasi districts) and SEDEX-type Pb – Ag – Zn ages. C. Litho-magnetic domains The magnetic lineament framework of the study A map of the total magnetic intensity reduced to NE-trending lineaments ected by three belts that belong to the Cenozoic This group is the most conspicuous in terms of magmatic arc. 5). Paleozoic basement. major Cenozoic structures (faults.3. the pole of the Puna region is shown in Fig. and an average total magnetic Cenozoic (Allmendinger et al. fractures) falla terrane) lies immediately to the west of the characteristic of the Argentine northwest. many of which are in the vicinity of long current faulting (as evidenced by the WNW twist of NNE lineaments. either shallow (as shown by mapped Zappettini.1.g.g.3. Chernicoff and dislocations. exposed at the surface. 1998). Lineaments were defined major litho-magnetic domains can be defined within as breaks in the magnetic pattern and are regarded as the study area (Chernicoff et al. the N –S-trending faults in the Olacapato area). RTP/FVD. NNE. transverse to the Andean FVD and RTP layers to produce shaded relief images orogen) have been interpreted to be the track of the that emphasized different sets of structures. The Paleozoic basement domain contains all of 3. in the deposits (Aguilar and La Colorada mines) known in Nevados de Palermo range) to late Cenozoic trans- the Puna. as interpreted from the aeromagnetic data (Figs. is shown in Fig. 3.2. aeromagnetic data. Alonso et al. brian and Paleozoic domains suggests antecedents in It is distinguished from the older basement domain to the structure of this suture zone. and corresponds to The Paleozoic basement domain (Arequipa – Anto. Chernicoff et al.e. lineament frequency and length. from pre-Andean zones of weakness (e. 1983. constrain the interpretations shown in Fig. 3. WNW. 2000): Precambrian – Early Cambrian faults/fractures) or deep-seated discontinuities (as evi- basement. as well as their length. RTP/ matic arc. or the axes of structurally controlled upper analytic signal. where magnetic Various angles of illumination were applied to the ‘‘cross-anomalies’’ (i. FVD/analytic signal) were also used to crustal intrusive complexes. 5. and is only partially imaged here. The intervening shorter linea- . several composite images (e. 5). four narrow ( f 50 km wide) belts of volcanic found to be particularly valuable for interpreting the rocks extend southeast from the Cordillera Occidental basement structure of the area because this process across the Puna (Fig. How- The first vertical derivative (Fig. 1996. The litho-magnetic of the region.2.. 4) layer was ever.. this area is trans. the southeast by the absence of a regional magnetic high. The corre- Precambrian – Early Cambrian domain (Fig. Argentina. 3. 5). eastward migration of the segmented Andean mag- tion.. 5. Because these rocks are typically domains are generally larger than the known out.

Chernicoff et al. Litho-magnetic domains and magnetic lineaments interpreted from SEGEMAR aeromagnetic surveys of the Puna (modified from Chernicoff and Zappettini. 2000). / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 Fig. .J.140 C. 5.

J. Bajo de la Alumbrera district. (B) First vertical derivative of the total magnetic intensity reduced to the pole. . (C) Analytic signal (total gradient) of the total magnetic intensity. (A) Total magnetic intensity reduced to the pole. Contours of analytic signal shown to emphasize structure. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 141 Fig. Chernicoff et al. C. 6.

and is likely to be late Cenozoic in age. which may in turn be The transverse volcanic belts host the majority of recognized as lineaments or lineament corridors in mineral deposits in the Puna. and even where such structures Queva. the Mina or the passage of hydrothermal fluids—they merely Julia. and particularly disrupted alluvial fans to the west of La Quiaca. they do not cause the emplacement of magmas Calama – Olacapato – El Toro lineament. and Cerro Galán fumarolic and epi. El of a major structure. 3.J. . Circular anomalies (5– 20 km diameter) well-established but not foolproof method. ENE-trending lineaments related to the Tucu. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 ments are likely to be younger (mostly Cenozoic).e. lineament intersections. Smaller circular anomalies thermal activity may be focused to shallow crustal are related to domes and hydrothermal systems. offer high permeability structural pathways that may thermal systems lie along the Archibarca lineament. Small black dots indicate the locations of known mineral deposits. pathways.3. magmatism and hydro- Cenozoic eruptive centers. Furthermore. i. mán Transfer Zone and a conspicuous set of N – S- shallower structures. Aeromagnetic lineament interpretation of the Bajo de la Alumbrera district.3. the geophysical or remotely sensed images. and in many cases. an identified structural elements of the major WNW lineament lineament does not necessarily reflect the presence corridors (Fig.142 C. Example districts the area (within the Precambrian Pampia terrane). as evidenced by The use of lineament distributions. magmas and hydrothermal flu- near the intersections between the Culampajá linea.3. Antofalla. trending lineaments.. to explain or predict the locations of magmatic or hydrothermal systems is a 3. However. For example: the Concordia. 5). ids are not restricted to following such structural ment. Chernicoff et al. the locations of these deposits coincide closely with converse is not necessarily true. but may be emplaced away from any Fig. be invaded by magmas or volatiles if such fluids are and deposits in the Bajo de la Alumbrera district occur present.4. 7. N – S-trending lineaments This group is restricted mainly to the southeast of 4. As Several of these anomalies correspond to major reviewed by Richards (2000). levels by deep-seated structures. and La Poma epithermal districts lie along the exist.

C. showing the locations of major mineral deposits. . / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 143 Fig. 8. Landsat TM image (A) and lineament interpretation (B) of the Bajo de la Alumbrera district.J. Chernicoff et al.

good examples exist that Three such example districts have been chosen display clear spatial associations at the kilometer. structural corri- and the locations of volcanic centers or mineral dors). from the Puna study area: Bajo de la Alumbrera. . Nevertheless.. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 obvious lineament association. (A) Total magnetic intensity reduced to the pole. Cerro Galán district. Fig.e. Chernicoff et al.J. Contours of analytic signal shown to emphasize structure. the relation- a perfect correlation between identified lineaments ship is to lineament corridors (i. rather than individual structural elements. deposits is rarely observed. (B) First vertical derivative of the total magnetic intensity reduced to the pole.144 C. although tens of kilometer-scale. At these scales. (C) Analytic signal (total gradient) of the total magnetic intensity.

Aeromagnetic lineament interpretation of the Cerro Galán comprises a prominent WNW-trending lineament seg. The locations of the Bajo de la (dated 02/09/86). . close mented by ENE-trending lineaments. 7). 4. 8 km wide). district. where the made at 1:250. and N –S-trending linea- and f 500 km east of the trench where the Nazca ments.and ENE-trending lineaments delimit or cross- drawn at the same scale. ENE-.1. 1 and 5). Unambiguous Landsat TM and selected geophysical images are cross-cutting relationships are not clear. 1).000-scale..J. the latter repre- spatial relationships can be seen between lineaments senting traces of the Tucumán Transfer Zone (Fig. 1998. 1 and 5). transverse volcanic belt coincides with. defined by geophysical surveys and on Landsat This structural assemblage is intersected by N – S. 5). Bajo de la Alumbrera district WNW-trending lineaments are particularly evident. which hosts most of the known mineral occurrences in the area (Fig. corridor (Fig. and locally defines. Sasso and Clark. surface topography and the spectral response more and 1 (assigned to red. Chernicoff et al. and blue. Landsat lineament interpretations were tation of the Landsat image shown in Fig. The sources for these features are covered by plate is subducting beneath South America. along which a smaller hydrothermal deposits. In these districts. or layers illuminated from different ozoic.6 –5. The structural framework of this corridor Fig. Alumbrera. 232-078 Transfer Zone. and are therefore geophysical images are shown. but they may be older. In illustrating these examples. 1985. 8. and 232-077 (dated 10/03/86). f 200 km east of the main volcanic arc transected by WNW-. using spectral bands 7. and El Queva. number of mineral deposits are aligned. Lineament control on the porphyry-type mineralization in the district was analysed by Ramos (1977). part of the trans-Andean Culampajá linea- ment (Figs. 6) reveals the occurrence of several circular features (up to 6 km diameter) corre- sponding to eruptive centers within a WNW-trending corridor ( f 50 km images. angles. and Agua Rica mineral depos- its near intersections of this zone with NW. 1996). Inspection of the magnetic pattern of the Bajo de la Alumbrera district (Fig. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 145 Cerro Galán. Economic porphyry Cu –Au mineralization at Bajo de la Alumbrera is centered on a dacite porphyry ( f 6. were employed in the magnetic lineament A similar framework is suggested in the interpre- interpretations.9 Ma) emplaced into coeval Late Miocene (12. respectively) clearly define traces of the NE-trending Tucumán from scenes 231-079 (dated 13/10/86). 10. but several other interpreted to represent faults active in the late Cen- composite layers. Sasso and Clark (1998) suggested that magmatism was localized in a dextral pull-apart basin along the NE-trending Tucumán Transfer Zone (Figs. which is interpreted to follow a major basement terrane boundary (see also de Urreiztieta et al. 1998).and 4. Capillitas. and the locations of magmatic centers and NNW-trending lineaments. Müller and Forrestal. 7). although both presented separately from lineament interpretations NNW. A number of other large circular features (up to 15 The Bajo de la Alumbrera district is located at the km diameter) occur to the north of the main WNW eastern end of the southern belt of Cenozoic magma. C.1 Ma) high-K andesites and shoshonites of the Farallon Negro volcanic complex (Guilbert. where they are bounded and/or tism (Fig. This young alluvial sediments. green. Note that only selected cut volcanic features in the map area.

Chernicoff et al. Fault locations are taken from the Provincia de Catamarca 1:500.J. Landsat TM image (A) and lineament interpretation (B) of the Cerro Galán district. 1995).146 C.000 geological map sheet (Servicio Geológico. The location of a prominent hydrothermal alteration zone at the caldera margin is highlighted. . / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 Fig. 11.

. Chernicoff et al. and is interpreted to be a nested caldera. . Contours of analytic signal shown to emphasize structure. as indicated by three intersecting circular features. (B) First vertical derivative of the total magnetic intensity reduced to the pole. 12. If so. 9). / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 147 eroded magmatic centers. are located around the Fig. 5). and features satellite eruptive centers. The Cerro Galán crater (Sparks et al. Cerro Galán district (Fig. C. (C) Analytic signal (total gradient) of the total magnetic intensity.J. (Fig. the largest Cenozoic ignimbrite caldera in Argentina spective for intrusion-hosted porphyry mineralization. they might be pro. 1985) is clearly visible on the aeromagnetic maps 4. (A) Total magnetic intensity reduced to the pole. El Queva district.2. The Cerro Galán district is located within the Additional circular features. interpreted to be small south-central Cenozoic magmatic belt.

1985). A prominent circular consistent with regional structural trends. highlighted in Fig. 1). and range is clearly depicted as an area of high mag- NW-trending lineaments can be discerned on both netic gradients in the southeastern quadrant of the the magnetic and Landsat images (Fig. The volcanoes are constructed of andesitic to dacitic lava flows and pyroclastic deposits of Upper Mio- cene to Pliocene age. Small black dots indicate the locations of known mineral basement. Chernicoff et al. 1989). Although some N – S lineaments are ments of the Calama –Olacapato – El Toro lineament. whereas the WNW and NW lineaments are N –S-trending faults in the late Paleozoic metamor. ENE. NW. occurs at the intersection of a NW-trending lineament and the caldera rim.1 Ma was the culmination of a volcanic episode framework. and are aeromagnetic map (Fig. The Nevados de Pastos Grandes volcanic deposits. itself apparently controlled by a major NNE-trending fault. and reveal WNW-trending lineaments that began in the Middle Miocene. and many deposits are spatially related to thermal alteration is extensively developed in the individual lineaments or eruptive centers (Figs.. Martı́nez. interpreted to represent individual structural ele- phic basement. 12).3. significant amount of deep crustal melting (Francis The NE lineaments probably relate to the boundary et al. mining companies have conducted mineral explora- tion programs in the area. In partic. 13. indeed recognized.. and involved a intersected by NE. 5). 4. El Queva district The El Queva district is located within the north- central Cenozoic magmatic belt (Fig. One particularly prom- inent alteration zone.148 C. ments. Extensive NE-. (1985) also conjectured between the Precambrian and Ordovician basement that the location of the caldera was controlled by blocks. Sillitoe (1975) proposed a spatial relationship between the locations of individ- ual volcanic vents and the projection of a zone of Fig.J. 11). are f 1000 km3 rhyodacitic Cerro Galán ignimbrite at broadly in agreement with the mapped structural 2. Hydro. shaped area of very high magnetic gradient in the ular. . respectively. 1). Aeromagnetic lineament interpretation of the El Queva N – S-trending faults exposed in the Ordovician district. which have been partially excavated by minor Pleistocene glaciation. and several and 14). 1975) occur within edifices of the Nevados de Pastos Grandes volcanic range. (1985) reported that eruption of the tions shown in Figs. the caldera lies more noticeably Most of the mineral occurrences of the district fall in the zone of intersection of regionally extensive within the zone of intersection between the Cal- NNE. 10 and 11. (Fig. 11. The Landsat and magnetic lineament interpreta- Sparks et al. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 main caldera (Fig. and N –S lineaments. Sillitoe. 13 volcanic rocks (Sparks et al. which defines part of the SE-trending trans-Andean Cal- ama – Olacapato– El Toro lineament (Fig.and NW-trending lineaments and mapped ama – Olacapato – El Toro corridor and NE linea- faults (Figs. and minor Pb –Ag mineralization (worked from 1968 to 1973 at the El Queva mine. 1995). Sparks et al. NNE-. 13 and 14. Exten- sive hydrothermal alteration. fumarolic sulfur deposits. the NW-trending lineaments comprise elements right-central part of the map derives from the Aguas of the major trans-Andean Archibarca lineament Calientes caldera. 10).

14. C.J. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 149 Fig. Landsat TM image (A) and lineament interpretation (B) of the El Queva district. showing the locations of prominent hydrothermal alteration zones within the volcanic edifices of the Nevados de Pastos Grandes volcanic range. . Chernicoff et al.

g. at least during the late Cen- only features visible at the Earth’s surface. Cerro Galán (the largest late areas is related to the late Cenozoic Andean orogeny. Salfity. mineralization. visible in both data sets.e. the NNE- Puna. associated shallow-level plutonism extended as fin. but such structures are hard to identify lished the regional-scale geophysical and interpreted in the field because they have largely been covered by structural framework of the Puna. Cenozoic caldera complex in Argentina). and Culam- important because these techniques record different pajá lineaments (Figs. accommodating shear strain between large major. we have firstly estab. materials is not complete. and on a regional ments and individual magmatic and hydrothermal scale. mostly the aeromagnetic method is sensitive to magnetic with limited sinistral offsets ( f 20 km for the El Toro contrasts throughout the crust. lineaments fault.J. through-going crustal structures. and have then the volcanic rocks that they have helped to localize.150 C. The main focus of arc magmatism during these centers are found to lie within the zones of this period was. and for the existence of a conducive stress association is clear both at a regional and local scale field acting on the structural framework to promote were selected for closer examination: Bajo de la permeability. Allmendinger et al. transverse belts of late Cenozoic volcanism. and El which occurred in response to relatively rapid and Queva (a historically important polymetallic district shallow subduction of the Nazca plate beneath South hosted by a major volcanic complex). 5. Therefore. In the foregoing sections. three areas in which this source. In each case. the tectono-magmatic In order to explore in more detail the spatial history of the region also needs to be considered in relationship between magmatism.. 5. the trends of basement structures become visi- centers can be observed. 1997). however. Richards (2000) and Tosdal and Richards (2001) Other structural trends are also visible in the geo- recently reviewed evidence for a relationship between physical and Landsat images. they have behaved as strike –slip faults. (2001) have referred to these structures as transfer thickness of 50 –70 km). and concluded that while such corresponds to the suture zone between the Are- structures may provide weak or permeable pathways quipa –Antofalla and Pampia terranes. A deep structural control on the trending lineaments are also identified in several . / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 5. Jordan et al. Chernicoff et al. including a prominent deep crustal structures and the emplacement of deeply corridor of NNE-trending lineaments that broadly derived magmas. Matteini et al. 1985.. In particular. can be recognized. those of 1983. which forms the western border of the the WNW trans-Andean set (all locations).. comparable to the crustal al. Discussion orientation and extent of these breakouts has been suspected for some time (e. and order to satisfy both the necessity for an active magma deep crustal structure. characteristics and contrasts of the surface and subsur. 1985). crustal blocks during Neogene crustal shortening. in Fig. Thus. Landsat images record lineaments suggest that. and in particular. because sions. Coutand et significant linear extent (i. and numerous for magma ascent. and lateral persistence that they have been named: the ent methodologies (geophysical and Landsat) is also Calama –Olacapato – El Toro.. and continues to be. whereas ozoic. Archibarca. Jordan et al. Salfity. most notably Occidental. strong WNW structural trends local details are lost on the small-scale regional maps. 1 and 5). Alumbrera (containing the largest porphyry Cu –Au Supracrustal magmatism in each of the three study deposit in Argentina). This combination of ble and can be projected beneath the younger succes- regional. Instead.. and the ENE-trending Tucumán Transfer Zone (Bajo gers to the SE across the Puna. the Cordillera intersection of major crustal lineaments. focused on three detailed areas within that region at Blanketing of the pre-Cenozoic basement by such a scale at which spatial relationships between linea. However. several of which correlate with the whereas the significance of regional trends and linea. itself result in intrusion. Studies of exposed fault strands along these WNW face geology.and local-scale analyses is essential.. 1982. 1983. coeval breakouts of volcanism and to NE-suture-related set (El Queva and Cerro Galán). Relatively discontinuous N – S- identified in Fig. America. their mere existence does not in but less extensive N –S structures. The combination of differ. At least ment corridors is often not clear within the bounds of three of these structural zones are of such intensity the large-scale local maps. four such fingers are de la Alumbrera). 1983. are interpreted to represent faults.

more geological information must be brought sional deformation (Bellier and Sébrier. both regional. In addition. Thus.. mineralization. Sillitoe. magmatism and mineralization are not precluded from forming away Aeromagnetic and Landsat TM data have been from such intersections. nonprospective magma chemistry.. permitting focused ascent of magma at Cerro Galán). suggests a spa. Surficial fumarolic alteration zones ment structures. the region might not yet focus magma emplacement is favoured at step. Bussell. 1995. rather than masi et al. mal. 1993. and may be conjugate to WNW. Riller et al. 1972. some of trans-crustal throughout the Puna region.and local-scale perspectives is impor- This lack of perfect correlation could be viewed tant for the recognition of significant controlling as a limitation of the model for exploration pur. Finally. simply looking for lineaments and their intersec- Román-Berdiel et al.. tions. however.. it will be helpful to identify systems that produce hydrothermal ore deposits. development of nonideal depth of emplacement. to be recovered economically today. as that they lie off the magmatic axis. C. lineament intersections. From an exploration perspective. permeability. In particular. Furthermore. and structural intersections along Puna has received only reconnaissance exploration). and recognition may be present. Pitcher... Rehrig and Heidrick. directly associated with recorded mineralization. such that subsurface porphyry and even near- tial relationship between magmatic – hydrothermal surface epithermal mineral deposits have barely activity and the intersections of deep-seated base. catastrophic erup- extensional pull-apart volumes that may serve to tion. it merely provides a favourable environment for magma ascent when a magma source is present within a suitably oriented 6. that the local The favourability of lineament intersections for structural framework was misoriented with respect focusing magma ascent has frequently been noted in to the prevailing stress field at the time of potential the past (e. 1994. etc. 1994. ore. been exposed. Conclusions regional stress field. Tobisch and Cruden. Tom. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 151 locations. and particularly of zones of increased prospectivity for magmatic. Observation at. However. have been sufficiently dissected either by erosion or version of this relationship into an exploration edifice collapse (e. and correlation between.. 1979.g. 1998). and large mag- localized by zones of maximum structural favour.J.g. con. to be considered interesting.or NE. is an economic one: potentially useful minerals related hydrothermal ore deposits. matic and hydrothermal alteration centers. This relationship may be further are widespread in these volcanic edifices. to bear in making exploration decisions. rationalized in terms of structural weakness and and may overlie mineralized systems at depth (e. and many are not extent. many intersections the identified lineaments and lineament zones are between individual lineament strands are evident interpreted to represent faults. each associated with an ore deposit and/or particularly serious because erosion has been mini- large hydrothermal alteration zone. In the young Our analysis of three major magmatic centers in volcanic belts of the Puna. 2000. magmatism—as noted above. areas of enhanced magmatic flux also represent definition of mineralization. to shallow crustal levels where devolatilization may therefore. or that local conditions were inap- 1976. such ‘‘barren’’ loci might be activity. such trending structures.. However. structures in magma emplacement and hydrothermal poses. 1997. strike –slip faults during transtensional or transpres. 1994) to bring poten- model is complicated by the fact that structural tially mineralized zones within range of surface architecture does not in itself generate or localize exploration and development. unfavourable for other. have been explored in sufficient detail (much of the overs. although it might be used to investigate a spatial relationship between expected that the largest centers would indeed be lineaments. Benn et al.). because the dimensions of regional linea- . the latter problem is the Puna. propriate (e. it is important to remember that the tive. 2001). Rowley et al. 5. or at depths too great eral exploration. bends. Chernicoff et al.g. From a metallogenic perspec.g. predictable reasons.. but either at concentrations too low of such centers therefore has significance for min. As can be seen in Fig. Sylvester and Linke. Many of ability.

Buenos Aires.. Argen- tina. Wallace. R. Jordan. P. Geological Society of America. such as combinations Allmendinger. 1991.W. Palma.C.E. Publicación IUGS 5.. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 25.. one of a number of independent factors that affect Giant evaporite belts of the Neogene central Andes.. L.N. Beck. southeastern bor- Zone at Bajo de la Alumbrera are spaced over a der of the Puna Plateau. 1997. R. Chernicoff et al. R. 1998. 1997. 1982. 43 – 63. Thus. mineral exploration gains validity when defined by 111 – 130. but priority rankings should include addi.. M. P. G. structural controls on magma emplacement are just Alonso. K. D.. 1070 – 1082. G. Simposio . 407 – 410.N. In addition... Minero Argentino (SEGEMAR) for financial support Drake. Jordan.E. applicability can be tested 139 – 174.L. ilarly. Nevertheless. Palma. In terms Latinoamericano de Geologia. the Calama – Olacapato – El Toro lineament at El Perfil estructural en la Puna Catamarqueña. R. Hérail. R.C.. and geological Andes. S.W.. Abstracts with Programs 19. We thank Daniel Knepper and Victor Ramos resolved within a large-scale local map area. pp. Bulletin 109. Tectonic development.. J. Quinto Congreso Queva form a corridor f 40 km wide. S. Bariloche.W.A. S. ENE-trending lineaments that are interpreted as elements of the Tucumán Transfer Allmendinger.. Respuestas geofı́sicas de yacimientos tipo cobre Sciences and Engineering Research Council of porfı́rico.E. Mascle. Silver. Geology 25. Actas of localizing magmatic or hydrothermal centers. Control megaestructural de los Distritos metal- ı́feros en el Noroeste de Argentina.. north- Use of lineament intersection relationships for western Argentina. Gutiérrz. Hypothesis concerning a regmagenic network Acknowledgements controlling metallogenic and other geologic events in the South American austral cone. northwestern Argentine Andes.J. and so the 401 – 404. which individually may have limited lat- Allmendinger. M. large deposits typically require gentina and northern Chile)..E. The evolution of the Altiplano – Puna plateau of the Central of remote sensing. Strecker. margin basins in the southern Central Andes (northwestern Ar- tions.. Sim..C. 578. pp.. R. T.E..A. H. Isacks. Jordan. 1996. Breikreuz.W.. Crustal-scale Noveno Congreso Geológico Argentino.. Francis. Viramonte. acknowledges the support of a grant from the Natural Behn. Myers. settings in a given regional context. Sciences 4. 1992. Actas. V. F. identification of an apparently favourable lineament Baby. T. rather than the intersections of specific structural B. S. multi-technique approaches.. For for helpful and constructive reviews.. example. Eremchuk. 1987.. 1980. In Metalogénesis en Latino- américa. but instead by zones of faulting.L. 1983. / Ore Geology Reviews 21 (2002) 127–155 ments are such that they are commonly not clearly Canada. T. J. J. R. geophysical. B. H.. Bassi. these broad zones of intersection that are important Allmendinger.G. 499 – 518. Neogene short- intersection does not guarantee prospectivity. Alonso. 1 – 16. it is 1.W. this model does not preclude the occurrence Bahlburg. Paleogeography and Andean structural geometry. Kay.. R... The authors wish to thank the Servicio Geológico 491 – 511.. Isacks.G.. 869 – 884.... often tens of kilo.L. C.. of America. V.. Hervé. Vandervoort. B. the potential to form an ore deposit. T. methods. R. JPR des. Baldis. Zandt. Jordan. 1984. Tabbutt. the extensive trans-Andean lineaments are rarely defined by single structural elements. X Congreso Latinoamericano de Geologı́a. 1986. Regional structural control of lineament analysis is a useful tool for first-pass target porphyry copper deposits in northern Chile. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 2. Guilbert. Geological Society selection.. tional geological and metallogenic information. G. G. 1989. eral and vertical extent. Ramos. 1991. P.. Ramos.C. Neotectonic deformation of the southern Puna Plateau. for hosting significant ore deposits. Bahlburg. defined intersections that offer structural favourabil. Journal of South American Earth optimum conditions for their formation. ening contribution to crustal thickening in the back arc of the Central Andes. References meters wide. T.T. Puna Austral— which may help to identify favourable structural bases para el subprovincialismo geológico de la Puna. by inclusion of known metallogenic information.. Geologische Rundschau 77. M.. Crustal-thickness variations in the central An- and for permission to use the geophysical data.. and WNW-trending elements of logical Society of America Bulletin 97. Geodynamic evolution and tectonos- tratigraphic terranes of northwestern Argentina and northern ity for magmatism will have an increased probability Chile..L. and well.. Geology 24. 171 – 188.152 C. P. elements.. Geo- width of f 35 km. Paleozoic evolution of active of mineral deposits unrelated to lineament intersec. We conclude that Baker. Geology 19.S.M. 1997.. northwest Argentina. Rochat.. Tectonics 2. 883 – 886. H. Allmendinger. Argentina.M.

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