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Andean geology

On-line version ISSN 0718-7106


ASTINI, Ricardo A; MARTINA, Federico  and  DAVILA, Federico M. The Los Llantenes Formation in the Precordillera of Jagüé (La Rioja Province) and the recognition of a rifting stage in the early evolution of the late Paleozoic basins in western Argentina. AndGeo [online]. 2011, vol.38, n.2, pp.245-267. ISSN 0718-7106.

In the northern part of the Argentine Precordillera, northwestern La Rioja, the Upper Paleozoic is over 4,000 m thick. Very coarse conglomerates from the basal section have not been described nor adequately interpreted. This work analyses this unit in the context of a stratigraphic revision of the upper Paleozoic of the region, and interprets the conglomerate as a rift deposit. The thick (>1,000 m) and coarse purple conglomeratic succession, herein named 'Los Llantenes Formation', non-conformably rests on the basement rocks of the region and underlies deposits of the first glacial record associated with the Gondwanan glaciation. While its great thickness and restricted areal extent indicate localized subsidence, the crude stratification, poor sorting and abundance of >1-m boulders indicate an origin related to high-gradient, low-efficiency alluvial fans. Their composition and coarse-grained size indicate local provenance, abrupt relief and incipiently developed drainage systems and a highly compartmentalized and abrupt paleogeography. A complex glacial history generated deep 'U'-shaped paleovalleys in the Los Llantenes Formation, developing paleovalleys that accommodated basal lodgment tills and glacial diamictites with sedimentologic features comparable to the Cerro Tres Cóndores Formation (Visean in age) exposed to the south. The age of the conglomerales of Los Llantenes Formation, clearly preglacial, can be stratigraphically bracketed between the Middle Devonian substrate cropping out to the south in the sierra de Las Minitas and the Middle Mississippian, age of the Cerro Tres Condores Formation. Consequently, Los Llantenes Formation may partly correlate with the Agua de Lucho Formation (Tournaisian-Vissean) that in the area of Río del Peñón, immediately to the south, underlies the glacigenic Cerro Tres Condores Formation. Mapping relationships with limited areal extent, together with the great thickness of Los Llantenes Formation and the local provenance, allow interpreting accommodation in extensional or pull-apart depocenters, conclusions that are relevant in order to reconstruct the history of the basin.

Keywords : Los Llantenes Formation; Immature conglomerates; Extensional tectonics; Lower Carboniferous (Mississippian); Northern Precordillera.

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