New Nazca Plate Reconstructions and Implications for Intermontane Basin Evolution in the Andes

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
Intermontane valleys form unusual features of compressive mountain belts both in the sharp topographic break they represent and in the strike-slip displacements often associated with the valleys. Such strike-slip motion seems hard to reconcile in the actively deforming Andes where reconstructions have indicated nearly perpendicular Cenozoic plate convergence. Detailed study of a part of the Argentine Andes between latitude 31-33┬ŽS suggests that, although strike-slip displacements may have largely created a prominent intermontane valley system, no Holocene strike-slip displacements are observed amid the relatively active compressional deformation along the mountain belt flanks. New plate reconstructions, treating the Nazca plate as two microplates separated by fractures along the Nazca Ridge, predict large components of strike-slip motion between the South American and Nazca Plates for the period from 10 to 5 Ma. These reconstructed plate motions are consistent with strains derived from recent kinematic analyses of minor faults along the southeast margin of the Puna plateau and the general timing of tectonic phases in the Andes.
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