Structural overprint of a late Paleozoic accretionary system in north-central Chile (34°-35°S) during post-accretional deformation.

Arne P. Willner, Peter P. Richter, Uwe Ring


In the Coastal Cordillera of central Chile a coherently preserved architecture of a late Paleozoic accretionary prism is exposed at 36°-35°S in cióse spatial association with a neighbouring área at 34°-35°S, where it is strongly modified by post-accretional processes. Syn- and post-accretional struetures can be distinguished relatively easily in this región studying the deviations from the original architecture. South of 35°S a transitional contact between two major units is observed, which reflects a continuous change of the mode of accretion in the accretionary wedge before -305 Ma: the structurally overlying metagreywacke of the Eastern Series exhibits struetures typical of frontal accretion, Le., subvertical chevron folds of bedding planes with an axial-plane foliation Sr With increasing finite strain structurally downwards, open F2 folds develop associated with a S2-foliation which becomes gradually flattened as it rotates into a subhorizontal orientation. S2 is the penetrative transposition foliation in the structurally underlying Western Series. It affeets the continent-derived metagreywacke series as well as metabasite intercalations of oceanic origin and was formed during basal accretion. This principal evolution of the accretionary system places firm constraints on the original architecture also in regions where it was destructed after accretion. Accretion ceased at -225 Ma, when a major tectonic change from a convergent to an extensional/strike-slip regime oceurred. Although the development of the margin in central Chile is largely characterized by extensión during Mesozoic and Cenozoic times, two pronounced episodes involving shortening of the forearc particularly affected the Western Series north of 35°S: 1. Expressions of strike-slip activity during Jurassic times involve local steepening of the originally flat S2-foliation planes, local rotation of the stretching lineation L2 into the N-S direction, tight upright folding of the S2 foliation and refolding about steep axes with associated vertical cataclastic left-lateral shear zones. 2. The left-lateral reverse Pichilemu-Vichuquén fault at the boundary between both units is a prominent brittle structure that formed at -100 Ma concomitant with basin closure and acceleration of exhumation rates in the forearc. Similar contractional struetures oceur along the coast further north, where both units partly disappeared by subduction erosión most likely during these deformation episodes. The transition between nearly unaffected accretion systems in the south and disrupted and partly subducted ones in the north oceurs at 35°S.

How to cite this article Willner, A.; Richter, P.; Ring, U. 2010, Structural overprint of a late Paleozoic accretionary system in north-central Chile (34°-35°S) during post-accretional deformation.. Andean Geology 36 (1): 17-36. [doi:]