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Fluvial terraces as quantitative markers of late Quaternary detachment folding and creeping thrust faulting in the Peruvian Huallaga basin

Abstract : In the western Huallaga basin, located in the Peruvian Subandes, a series of nine fluvial terraces with elevations of up to 160 m above current floodplain level (+FP) were formed against the Biabo anticline. The terraces are progressively more folded with age and terrace elevation and present growth strata, suggesting ongoing folding of the anticline. Optically and InfraRed Stimulated Luminescence (OSL and IRSL) dating of fluvial terrace sediments yielded ages of 10.8 ± 0.7 ka for the T2, 24.2 ± 2 ka for the T4 and 46 ± 9 ka for the T7 terrace. Uniform uplift rates of 2 mm a-1 for the past 46 ka were calculated. Terrace profiles and two new seismic profiles that cross the Biabo anticline longitudinally and transversally were used to calculate shortening rates of 2.6 mm a-1 for the anticline over the past 46 ka. Our calculations took into account potential contributions of detachment thrusting parallel to the Biabo fold and reverse tear faulting perpendicular to the fold tip as visible on the seismic sections. A maximum uplift rate of 0.62 mm a-1 due to reverse thrusting of the Bellavista tear fault for the past 46 ka could have contributed to the overall uplift of the Bellavista terraces. Based on trigonometric relationships, a reverse fault slip rate of 0.86 mm a-1 and an age of 137 ka were calculated for this fault.

In the eastern part of the Huallaga basin, a series of two fluvial terraces were formed with elevations of 13-15 m and 30 m + FP and with OSL ages of 6.9 ± 0.7 ka for T1 and 30.2 ± 3.1 ka for T2. The interpretation of a third new seismic profile crossing the study area in combination with field observations and trigonometric relationships shows that the terraces were formed by a complex system of oblique ramp and strike-slip faulting resulting in uplift and shortening rates of 1 mm a-1 and 1.96 mm a-1 between 30.2 ka and 6.9 ka respectively; and uplift and shortening rates of 2 mm a-1 and 3.70 mm a-1 from 6.9 ka until the present. Reverse slip of the Shapaja oblique ramp, that was responsible for uplift of the terraces, was calculated at 2.19 mm a-1 for the period 30.2 to 6.9 ka and 4.15 mm a-1 from 6.9 ka until the present. Measured total slip in combination with the calculated slip rates allowed an age calculation of 181 ka for the Shapaja thrust ramp. Our inferences showed that the studied tectonic structures absorb most of the present-day deformation in the Huallaga basin. The calculated uplift and shortening rates are compatible with published, present-day crustal movement velocities, and Miocene to present shortening rates for various, studied sites of the tropical Subandes and suggest that it is deforming at a relatively uniform rate.

The timing of sedimentation of the terrace sediments may have corresponded to periods of increased precipitation which occurred coeval with the Heinrich events of the Northern Hemisphere. Terrace records similar as ours have been described for other, tectonically highly active areas in the tropical Subandes, but not in the tectonically less active Amazonian lowlands. It is suggested that uplift rates of at least 1 mm a-1 are needed to preserve suborbital climate cycles as individual terraces. The tropical Subandes could therefore be a new key area to investigate the interactions between tectonics, suborbital climate forcing and fluvial response during the late Quaternary.

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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-03661436
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Submitted on : Friday, May 6, 2022 - 6:10:14 PM
Last modification on : Monday, May 16, 2022 - 8:20:27 AM

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Willem Viveen, Patrice Baby, Jorge Sanjurjo-Sanchez, Christian Hurtado-Enríquez. Fluvial terraces as quantitative markers of late Quaternary detachment folding and creeping thrust faulting in the Peruvian Huallaga basin. Geomorphology, 2020, 367, ⟨10.1016/j.geomorph.2020.107315⟩. ⟨insu-03661436⟩

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