Late mesozoic to paleogene stratigraphy of the Salar de Atacama Basin, Antofagasta, Northern Chile: Implications for the tectonic evolution of the Central Andes

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Late mesozoic to paleogene stratigraphy of the Salar de Atacama Basin, Antofagasta, Northern Chile: Implications for the tectonic evolution of the Central Andes

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Late mesozoic to paleogene stratigraphy of the Salar de Atacama Basin, Antofagasta, Northern Chile: Implications for the tectonic evolution of the Central Andes

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Título: Late mesozoic to paleogene stratigraphy of the Salar de Atacama Basin, Antofagasta, Northern Chile: Implications for the tectonic evolution of the Central Andes
Autor: Mpodozis Marín, Constantino; Arriagada, César; Basso, Matilde; Roperch, Pierrick; Cobbold, Peter; Reich Morales, Martín
Resumen: The Salar de Atacama basin, the largest "pre-Andean' basin in Northern Chile, was formed in the early Late Cretaceous as a consequence of the tectonic closure and inversion of the Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Tarapaca back arc basin. Inversion led to uplift of the Cordillera de Domeyko (CD), a thick-skinned basement range bounded by a system of reverse faults and blind thrusts with alternating vergence along strike. The almost 6000-m-thick, upper Cretaceous to lower Palcocene sequences (Purilactis Group) infilling the Salar de Atacama basin reflects rapid local subsidence to the east of the CD. Its oldest outcropping unit (Tonel Formation) comprises more than 1000 m of continental red sandstones and evaporites, which began to accumulate as syntectonic growth strata during the initial stages of CD uplift. Tonel strata are capped by almost 3000 m of sandstones and conglomerates of western provenance, representing the sedimentary response to renewed pulses of tectonic shortening, which were deposited in alluvial fan, fluvial and eolian settings together with minor lacustrine mudstone (Purilactis Formation). These are covered by 500 m of coarse, proximal alluvial fan conglomerates (Barros Arana Formation). The top of the Purilactis Group consists of Maastrichtian-Danian alkaline lava and minor welded tuffs and red beds (Cerro Totola Formation: 70-64 Ma K/Ar) deposited during an interval of tectonic quiescence when the El Molino-Yacoraite Late Cretaceous sea covered large tracts of the nearby Altiplano-Puna domain. Limestones interbedded with the Totola volcanics indicate that this marine incursion advanced westwards to reach the eastern CD slope. CD shortening in the Late Cretaceous was accompanied by volcanism and continental sedimentation in fault bounded basins associated to strike slip along the north Chilean magmatic arc to the west of the CID domain, indicating that oblique plate convergence prevailed during the Late Cretaceous. Oblique convergence seems to have been resolved into a highly partitioned strain system where margin-parallel displacements along the thermally weakened arc coexisted with margin-orthogonal shortening associated with syntectonic sedimentation in the Salar de Atacama basin. A regionally important Early Paleocene compressional event is echoed, in the Salar de Atacama basin by a, distinctive, angular unconformity which separates Paleocene continental sediments from Purilactis Group strata. The basin also records the Eocene-Early Oligocene Incaic transpressional episode, which produced, renewed uplift in the Cordillera de Domeyko and triggered the accumulation of a thick blanket of syntectonic gravels (Loma Amarilla Formation).
URI: http://www.captura.uchile.cl/handle/2250/2334
Fecha: 2005-04-27
Cita del item: TECTONOPHYSICS 399 (1-4): 125-154 Sp. Iss. SI, APR 27 2005


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