Gravity Anomalies of Costa Rica and their Relations to Crustal Structure and Mineralization

Case JE,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
Complete Bouguer and isostatic anomaly maps compiled for Costa Rica provide new insights into the crustal structure and mineralization. Terrain corrections were approximated from the station to a radial distance of 167 km by computer using a 3- minute digital elevation model of Costa Rica and surrounding areas. Isostatic corrections, based on Airy-Heiskanen compensation, were also calculated from 0 to 167 km using the 3- minute elevation model and from 167 km to 180 degrees using combined topographic and isostatic reduction maps. Costa Rica can be divided into four main terranes based on gravity data: a Pacific coastal region, a Pacific inland area, a central region, and a Caribbean coastal region. Negative gravity anomalies along the Pacific coastal margin correlate with an offshore sedimentary basin, and large positive anomalies correlate with mafic and ultramafic igneous rocks on the Santa Elena, Nicoya, and Osa Peninsulas, and at Puerto Quepos. Pacific inland anomalies are separated from the Pacific coastal region by a steep gravity gradient, and over the Coast Ranges a major gravity low overlies a thick section of low- density sedimentary rocks. In the central region, a major gravity low occurs over a thick low-density Quaternary volcanic complex in the Cordillera Central, north of San Jose. A prominent feature of the Caribbean coastal region is an interrupted gravity low over the Limon Basin that reflects a thickening of low-density sedimentary rocks. A conspicuous gravity lineament, trending northeast separates northern and southern Costa Rica. The lineament is defined by the termination of several major gravity anomalies including those over the Coast Ranges, Cordillera Central, Puerto Quepos, and Limon Basin. In addition, the lineament correlates with other geological and geophysical data including: northeast-trending faults, the southern limit of large Quaternary volcanoes, the segmentation of the middle America volcanic belt, and a seismicity gap. This lineament may be the expression of a previously unrecognized major northeast- trending fracture zone in central Costa Rica. An important economic implication of the gravity lineament is a correlation with the termination of gold and porphyry copper deposits in Costa Rica.
Full Article Download:
(594 kb)