Neogene Growth of the Patagonian Andes

  • Andrés Folguera
  • Guido M. Gianni
  • Alfonso Encinas
  • Orlando Álvarez
  • Darío Orts
  • Andrés Echaurren
  • Vanesa D. Litvak
  • César R. Navarrete
  • Daniel Sellés
  • Jonathan Tobal
  • Miguel E. Ramos
  • Lucas Fennell
  • Lucía Fernández Paz
  • Mario Giménez
  • Patricia Martínez
  • Francisco Ruiz
  • Sofía B. Iannelli
Part of the Springer Earth System Sciences book series (SPRINGEREARTH)


After a Late Cretaceous to Paleocene stage of mountain building, the North Patagonian Andes were extensionally reactivated leading to a period of crustal attenuation. The result was the marine Traiguén Basin characterized by submarine volcanism and deep-marine sedimentation over a quasi-oceanic basement floor that spread between 27 and 22 Ma and closed by 20 Ma, age of syndeformational granitoids that cut the basin infill. As a result of basin closure, accretion of the Upper Triassic metamorphic Chonos Archipelago took place against the Chilean margin, overthrusting a stripe of high-density (mafic) rocks on the upper crust, traced by gravity data through the Chonos Archipiélago. After this, contractional deformation had a rapid propagation between 19 and 14.8 Ma rebuilding the Patagonian Andes and producing a wide broken foreland zone. This rapid advance of the deformational front, registered in synorogenic sedimentation, was accompanied at the latitudes of the North Patagonian Andes by an expansion of the arc magmatism between 19 and 14 Ma, suggesting a change in the subduction geometry at that time. Then a sudden retraction of the contractional activity took place around 13.5–11.3 Ma, accompanied by a retraction of magmatism and an extensional reactivation of the Andean zone that controlled retroarc volcanism up to 7.3–(4.6?) Ma. This particular evolution is explained by a shallow subduction regime in the northernmost Patagonian Andes, probably facilitated by the presence of the North Patagonian massif lithospheric anchor that would have blocked drag basal forces creating low-pressure conditions for slab shallowing. Contrastingly, to the south, the accretion of the Chonos Archipelago explains rapid propagation of the deformation across the retroarc zone. These processes occurred at the time of rather orthogonal to the margin convergence between Nazca and South American plates after a long period of high oblique convergence. Finally, convergence deceleration in the last 10 My could have led to extensional relaxation of the orogen.


Patagonia Fold and thrust belt Foreland basin Subduction accretion Shallow subduction 



We acknowledge PICT-2012-1490, PIP 2015–2017, 2015–2017. UBACYT, and Proyectos Fondecyt 11080115, 1110914, 1151146, for funding.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrés Folguera
    • 1
  • Guido M. Gianni
    • 5
    • 8
  • Alfonso Encinas
    • 2
  • Orlando Álvarez
    • 5
    • 8
  • Darío Orts
    • 4
  • Andrés Echaurren
    • 6
  • Vanesa D. Litvak
    • 1
  • César R. Navarrete
    • 3
  • Daniel Sellés
    • 7
  • Jonathan Tobal
    • 1
  • Miguel E. Ramos
    • 1
  • Lucas Fennell
    • 1
  • Lucía Fernández Paz
    • 1
  • Mario Giménez
    • 5
    • 8
  • Patricia Martínez
    • 5
  • Francisco Ruiz
    • 5
  • Sofía B. Iannelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Estudios Andinos (IDEAN), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Universidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciencias de la TierraUniversidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  3. 3.Departamento de GeologíaUniversidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan BoscoComodoro RivadaviaArgentina
  4. 4.Instituto de Investigación en Paleobiología y GeologíaUniversidad Nacional de Río Negro—CONICETGeneral RocaArgentina
  5. 5.Instituto Geofísico Sismológico Ing. Volponi (IGSV)Universidad de Nacional San JuanSan JuanArgentina
  6. 6.Instituto de Estudios Andinos Don Pablo Groeber, UBA—CONICET. Departamento de Ciencias Geológicas, FCENUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  7. 7.Aurum ConsultoresSantiago de ChileChile
  8. 8.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Buenos AiresArgentina

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