DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5027/andgeoV47n2-3218

Fluvial deposits of the Diamante Formation as a record of the Late Cretaceous tectonic activity in the Southern Central Andes, Mendoza, Argentina

Ricardo Gómez, Maisa Tunik, Silvio Casadío

Abstract


The Upper Cretaceous nonmarine deposits of the Neuquén Basin have an important regional exposure. These deposits are included in the Neuquén Group, a well-studied unit in both the south and central part of the basin. However, the northernmost exposed between the Laguna del Diamante and the Atuel River-assigned to the Diamante Formation-have not been studied in detail. In the studied area, the Diamante Formation corresponds to a braided fluvial system with moderate sinuosity evolving through time towards an anastomosing fluvial system. Petrographic analyses indicate that sandstones belong to feldspatic litharenites and litharenites, while the source area indicates provenance from both a recycled orogen and a transitional arc. The latter could be linked to the exhumation of the Andean orogen located to the west and to the input from the north-eastern border of the Neuquén Basin, represented by the rocks currently exposed in the San Rafael Block. On a macroscopic scale, the presence of calcareous lithic fragments in the mid and upper part of the surveyed stratigraphic section, strongly suggest an input from the west. This indicates an important change in the polarity of the basin and the presence of a deformation front located to the west of the study area in accordance to previous proposals in equivalent deposits to the south of study area.

Keywords


Neuquén Basin; Diamante Formation; Fluvial systems; Detrital modes; Andean orogen

How to cite this article Gómez, R.; Tunik, M.; Casadío, S. 2020, Fluvial deposits of the Diamante Formation as a record of the Late Cretaceous tectonic activity in the Southern Central Andes, Mendoza, Argentina. Andean Geology 47 (2): 256-274. [doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5027/andgeoV47n2-3218]