The western Andes at ~20–22° S: A contribution to the quantification of crustal shortening and kinematics of deformation - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
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The western Andes at ~20–22° S: A contribution to the quantification of crustal shortening and kinematics of deformation

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Tania Habel
Martine Simoes
Robin Lacassin
Daniel Carrizo
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Abstract

Abstract. The Andes are an emblematic active Cordilleran orogen. Mountain-building in the Central Andes (~20° S) started by Late Cretaceous to Early Cenozoic along the subduction margin, and propagated eastward. In general, the structures sustaining the uplift of the western flank of the Andes are dismissed, and their contribution to mountain-building remains poorly constrained. Here, we focus on two sites along the western Andes at ~20–22° S, in the Atacama Desert, where structures are well exposed. We combine mapping from high-resolution satellite images with field observations and numerical trishear forward modeling to provide quantitative constraints on the kinematic evolution of the western Andes. Our results confirm the existence of two main structures, once our field observations are combined with regional data: (1) the Andean Basement Thrust, a west-vergent thrust system placing Andean Paleozoic basement over Mesozoic strata; and (2) a series of west-vergent thrusts pertaining to the West Andean Thrust System, deforming primarily Mesozoic units. Once restored, we estimate that both structures accommodate together at least ~6–9 km of shortening across the sole investigated ~7–17 km-wide field sites. This multi-kilometric shortening represents only a fraction of the total shortening accommodated along the whole western Andes. The timing of the main deformation recorded in the folded Mesozoic series can be bracketed between ~68 and ~29 Ma – and possibly between ~68 and ~44 Ma – from dated deformed geological layers, with a subsequent significant slowing-down of shortening rates. Even though negligible when compared to total shortening across the whole orogen, the contribution of the structures forming the West Andes has been relatively significant at the earliest stages of Andean mountain-building before deformation was transferred eastward.
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Dates and versions

insu-03795799 , version 1 (05-10-2022)

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Tania Habel, Martine Simoes, Robin Lacassin, Daniel Carrizo, German Aguilar. The western Andes at ~20–22° S: A contribution to the quantification of crustal shortening and kinematics of deformation. 2022. ⟨insu-03795799⟩

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