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Andean geology

versión On-line ISSN 0718-7106


MALUMIAN, Norberto  y  JANNOU, Gabriel. The Fuegian Andes: the micropaleontological record of the major Campanian-Miocene paleocea-nographic austral events. AndGeo [online]. 2010, vol.37, n.2, pp.345-374. ISSN 0718-7106.

The succession of microfossil assemblages in the almost complete marine Late Cretaceous-Miocene stratigraphic column found in the Fuegian Andes, the orogenic margin of the Austral Basin, reveals a close relationship with the local tectonic events, the Atlantic transgressions-regressions on the Patagonian Platform, and the most relevant paleoceanographic global events. The Fuegian upper Campanian-lower Eocene sequence, dominated by flysch-type assemblages of agglutinated foraminifers and poorly oxygenated waters of fairly limited depth, is coherent with silled basins in a recently proposed cortical stretching period. The Maastrichtian (Policarpo Formation) has a cosmopolitan agglutinated foraminiferal assemblage contrasting with the coeval austral endemic calcareous assemblages of Patagonia. In the Paleocene/Eocene transition the assemblages of calcareous microfossils, of restricted distribution, exhibit the greatest Cenozoic turnover from a cosmopolitan Midway-type assemblage (La Barca Formation) to a strongly endemic Early Eocene assemblage (Punta Noguera Formation), with the oldest records of the Fuegian-Patagonian Cenozoic most typical genera. The Early Paleogene has no record of philothermic taxa such as larger foraminifera or morozovelids planktonic foraminifera, and only a short-lived bryozoan limestone (Río Bueno Formation) and the low percentage of the ostracod family Hemicytheridae insinuated a warm period. The upper middle-uppermost Eocene sequence (La Despedida Group) starts with a transgression recorded in the Austral Basin (Leticia, Man Aike, Río Turbio formations and Boltovskoyella beds), and in the Colorado Basin. This transgression is coeval with a temperature peak of 42 Ma, bringing a Fuegian retrograde fauna and a foraminiferal assemblage with large-sized nodosarids, which were replaced throughout the Late Eocene (Cerro Colorado Formation) by typical Antarctic genera that reflect the falling global temperature, culminating in the Tenuitella insolita Zone with abundant Chiloguembelina, a local effect of the global environmental fluctuations. The Eocene/Oligocene boundary and the Oi-1 seem to be represented by an unconformity and/or the Tchat Chii Conglomerate. In the earliest Oligocene (María Cristina beds) foredeep environments below the LCC and deep water foraminifer indicators appear, contrasting with coeval global high δ18O values and a Late Eocene-Early Oligocene withdrawal in the Patagonian Platform, which suggest that the coeval deepening recorded in the Fuegian Andes is due only to tectonic causes that facilitated the incursion of Antarctic waters into the basin. The latest Oligocene-Early Miocene global warm anomaly corresponds to a constriction period of the Drake Passage; in the Fuegian Andes lysocline conditions dominate, and a generalized transgression occurs including an Antarctic corrosive water current, which penetrates in the Patagonian Platform; on both regions, there are minor discontinuities coincident with the Mi-1, and an extended unconformity is found prior to the mid Miocene transgressive pulse coeval with the Neogene optimum.

Palabras clave : Fuegian Andes; Paleooceanography; Foraminifera; Ostracoda; Upper Cretaceous-Cenozoic; Argentina.

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