Geologische Rundschau

, Volume 82, Issue 4, pp 652–662 | Cite as

Geological development and mineralization in the Atacama segment of the South American Andes, northern Chile (26°15′–27°25′S)

  • Carlos M. Palacios
  • Brian C. Townley
  • Alfredo A. Lahsen
  • Antonio M. Egaña


Between the Late Jurassic and the Middle Miocene, widespread magmatism, tectonic events and hydrothermal mineralization characterized the geological evolution of the Atacama segment of the South American Andes. A characteristic feature of this zone is the coincidence in time and space between subduction-generated igneous activity, crustal deformation and mineralization in the magmatic arcs, which formed longitudinal belts migrating eastward.

Mineralization in the last 140 Ma is generally restricted to four longitudinal metallogenic belts, in which hydrothermal activity was channelled along crustal-scale faults (1) the Atacama Fault System, along which Early Cretaceous Cu-Au-bearing breccia pipes, veins and stockwork were formed; (2) the Inca do Oro Belt, which contains Upper Cretaceous low sulphur precious metal epithermal mineralization, and Middle Eocene Cu-Mo-Au-bearing breccia pipes; (3) the West Fissure System, which hosts Upper Eocene to Early Oligocene porphyry copper deposits and high sulphur precious metal epithermal mineralization; and (4) the Maricunga Belt, when contains Upper Oligocene to Middle Miocene high sulphur precious metal epithermal deposits and Au-rich porphyry mineralization.

Key words

Mineralization Magmatic activity Atacama segment Andes northern Chile 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos M. Palacios
    • 1
  • Brian C. Townley
    • 1
  • Alfredo A. Lahsen
    • 1
  • Antonio M. Egaña
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile

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