Jurassic Uplift Along the Huincul Arch and Its Consequences in the Stratigraphy of the Cuyo and Lotena Groups. Neuquén Basin, Argentina

  • Carlos ZavalaEmail author
  • Mariano Arcuri
  • Mariano Di Meglio
  • Agustín Zorzano
  • Germán Otharán
Part of the Springer Earth System Sciences book series (SPRINGEREARTH)


Marine sedimentation in the Neuquén Basin started in the Early Jurassic with the accumulation of a progradational clastic system: the Cuyo Group.  This sedimentary cycle begins with offshore shales of the Los Molles Formation, transitionally overlaid by shelfal to littoral sandstones and conglomerates of the Lajas Formation. According to the current stratigraphic schema, in the southern Neuquén Basin the Cuyo Group ends with continental red beds of the Challacó Formation, a unit interpreted as being the proximal equivalent of the Lajas Formation. Nevertheless, recent studies performed in the Picún Leufú area, complemented with regional stratigraphic evidence, suggest that the accumulation of these stratigraphic units is more likely related to a complex depositional scenario that involves tectonic activity during the Jurassic along the Huincul Arch. The uplift and exposure of Jurassic rocks along the Huincul Arch divided the basin into two sub-basins, each one having a different stratigraphy for the Middle-Late Jurassic time span. The stratigraphic analysis revealed that the red beds traditionally located at the top of the Cuyo Group in fact represent two different stratigraphic units separated by a regional unconformity. The lower unit (1) sharply overlies the Lajas Formation, corresponding to the Challacó Formation s.s. This unit was accumulated in a brackish lacustrine basin developed southward of the Huincul Arch (Picún Leufú Sub-basin). The upper unit (2) corresponds to the Bosque Petrificado Formation and is stratigraphically located at the base of the Lotena Group. The Bosque Petrificado Formation was accumulated in a fluvial to marine environment developed in the southern Neuquén Basin. Paleocurrent analysis suggests a sediment supply from the northeast, evidencing a local source of sediments related to an uplifted area. Recent biostratigraphic studies performed in the Bosque Petrificado and Lotena formations revealed an Early Callovian-Early Oxfordian age for these deposits.


Cuyo Group Lotena Group Challacó Formation Synsedimentary tectonics Huincul Arch 



The authors deeply acknowledge to Marcelo Martinez, Daniela Olivera and Ainara Irastorza for their help, support and interesting discussions during fieldwork. We also appreciate the support of the Departamento de Geología (Universidad Nacional del Sur), GCS Argentina SRL and the CONICET for the completion of field activities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Zavala
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mariano Arcuri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mariano Di Meglio
    • 1
    • 2
  • Agustín Zorzano
    • 1
  • Germán Otharán
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.GCS Argentina SRLBahía BlancaArgentina
  2. 2.Departamento de GeologíaUniversidad Nacional del SurBahía BlancaArgentina

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