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Revista geológica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0716-0208


FOLGUERA, Andrés; RAMOS, Víctor A  and  MELNICK, Daniel. Partición de la deformación en la zona del arco volcánico de los Andes neuquinos (36-39°S) en los últimos 30 millones  de años. Rev. geol. Chile [online]. 2002, vol.29, n.2, pp.227-240. ISSN 0716-0208.

Strain partitioning along the arc in the Neuquén Andes (36-39°S) for the last 30 million years. The Neuquén Andes between 36 and 39°S were built by a broad range of processes during the last 30 Ma. Periods of deformation can be classified in two alternating types: periods of extension associated with homogeneous shear parallel to the trench, whose strain encompassed areas hundreds of kilometers wide, and periods of discrete strike-slip fault displacements in the inner orogenic domains associated with uplift of retroarc mountains constructed by stacking of upper crustal thrust sheets. Extension-transtension (?) dominated the upper crust in the Neuquén Andes between 28 and 15 Ma and the arc was the locus of small volcanogenic basins in a belt over 100 kilometers wide perpendicular to the trench. Later, at 12-10 (5) Ma, the arc contracted, with the intrusion of large volumes of magma along strike-slip lithospheric systems, and intra-arc basin formation was inhibited. Meanwhile, the retroarc was deformed by pure shear perpendicular to the plate margin, which triggered basin inversion. Finally, after 5 Ma, conditions became more like those at 28-15 Ma, in which homogeneous transtension affected broad areas over 50 kilometers wide. Strain partitioning controls the distribution of the shear component, which is linked to the parallel component of convergence, either in discrete or broad areas of deformation, thereby acting as one variable that defined the availability of basin formation processes along the arc. Steepening and flattening of the Wadati-Benioff zones locally controlled the strain partitioning behavior of the upper crust in the Andes between 36° and 39°S. Discrete periods of accumulation of large volumes of volcanic materials in the inner domains of the orogen, contemporaneous with steep subduction, alternated with periods of arc-related intrusions along discrete strike-slip systems, during more shallowly dipping subduction

Keywords : Northern Patagonian Andes; Strain partitioning; Oblique subduction, Wadati-Benioff changes; Volcanic arc.

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