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Tectonic control on rock uplift, exhumation, and topography above an oceanic ridge collision: Southern Patagonian Andes (47°S), Chile

Abstract : The subduction of bathymetric anomalies at convergent margins can profoundly affect subduction dynamics, magmatism, and the structural and geomorphic evolution of the overriding plate. The Northern Patagonian Icefield (NPI) is located east of the Chile Triple Junction at ~47°S, where the Chile Rise spreading center collides with South America. This region is characterized by an abrupt increase in summit elevations and relief that has been controversially debated in the context of geodynamic versus glacial erosion effects on topography. Here we present geomorphic, thermochronological, and structural data that document neotectonic activity along hitherto unrecognized faults along the flanks of the NPI. New apatite (U-Th)/He bedrock cooling ages suggest faulting since 2–3 Ma. We infer the northward translation of an ~140 km long fore-arc sliver—the NPI block—results from enhanced partitioning of oblique plate convergence due to the closely spaced collision of three successive segments of the Chile Rise. In this model, greater uplift occurs in the hanging wall of the Exploradores thrust at the northern leading edge of the NPI block, whereas the Cachet and Liquiñe-Ofqui dextral faults decouple the NPI block along its eastern and western flanks, respectively. Localized extension possibly occurs at its southern trailing edge along normal faults associated with margin-parallel extension, tectonic subsidence, and lower elevations along the Andean crest line. Our neotectonic model provides a novel explanation for the abrupt topographic variations inland of the Chile Triple Junction and emphasizes the fundamental effects of local tectonics on exhumation and topographic patterns in this glaciated landscape.
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Viktoria Georgieva, Daniel Melnick, Taylor Schildgen, Todd Ehlers, Yves Lagabrielle, et al.. Tectonic control on rock uplift, exhumation, and topography above an oceanic ridge collision: Southern Patagonian Andes (47°S), Chile. Tectonics, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2016, 35 (6), pp.1317-1341. ⟨10.1002/2016TC004120⟩. ⟨insu-01326834⟩

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