Quaternary Deformation in the Neuquén Basin, Explained by the Interaction Between Mantle Dynamics and Tectonics

  • Lucía SagripantiEmail author
  • Bruno Colavitto
  • Ana Astort
  • Andrés Folguera
Part of the Springer Earth System Sciences book series (SPRINGEREARTH)


Quaternary deformations described in the retro-arc region at the latitudes of the Neuquén Basin can be divided into two main groups: a northern group characterized by Quaternary deformation zones concentrated near the main topographic breaks of different morphostructural systems, and a second group located in the southern Neuquén Basin distinguished by disconnected, sparced and noncontinuous Quaternary deformational zones. In the northern Neuquén Basin, evidence of active deformation is associated with the Frontal Cordillera (33°–34° S); while in the foreland area, young deformations concentrate in the San Rafael Block. In the southern Neuquén Basin, a western deformational belt constitutes the continuation to the north of an intra-arc fault system associated with dip- and strike-slip displacements in a strain-partitioned regime (Liquiñe–Ofqui fault system). At these latitudes, to the east, isolated evidence of Quaternary deformation, regional uplift and development of non-equilibrated fluvial profiles are recognized in the Tromen and Auca Mahuida volcanic plateaux and sierra de Cara Cura-sierra de Reyes area. These systems are short and unconnected and have been explained through an intricate pattern of asthenospheric anomalies evidenced from magnetotelluric data. These mantle anomalies could be related to the tearing of the subducted Nazca plate at depth evidenced by seismic-tomographic data. We therefore suggest that the thermally weakened crust at the southern Neuquén Basin latitudes could be the main control responsible for focalizing contractional, extensional and transpressional deformations in isolated mountain systems.


Quaternary deformation Mantle dynamics Slab-tear Retro-arc 



This work was supported by the National Council of Science of Argentina and funded by PIP 2015-2017 (11220150100426CO), UBACYT 20020110100019 and PICT - 2016-2252. We acknowledge Carlos Costa for sharing discussions that improved this work. This is the contribution R313 of the Instituto de Estudios Andinos Don Pablo Groeber (UBA-CONICET).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucía Sagripanti
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bruno Colavitto
    • 1
  • Ana Astort
    • 1
  • Andrés Folguera
    • 1
  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Departamento de Ciencias GeológicasInstituto de Estudios Andinos “Don Pablo Groeber” (IDEAN), CONICET, Universidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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