Cretaceous extensional and contractional stages in the Colombian Andes unraveled by a source-to-sink geochronological and thermochronological study in the Upper Magdalena Basin

L. Calderon-Diaz, S. Zapata, A. Cardona, M. Parra, E. R. Sobel, A. M. Patiño, V. Valencia, J. S. Jaramillo-Rios, J. Glodny

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Abstract

Extensional and flexural basins can evolve through multiple stages under the same plate tectonic regime over tens of millions of years. The Cretaceous tectonic evolution of the Colombian Andes is characterized by shifts between contractional and extensional tectonics. The upper plate response to these changes is recorded in the Cretaceous sedimentary rocks along the Western, Central, and Eastern cordilleras, and their adjacent basins, including the Upper Magdalena hinterland basin. We integrated field observations, petrography, geochronology, and thermochronology in the Cretaceous sedimentary units in the southern Upper Magdalena Basin and in the adjacent crystalline basement to decipher the provenance of these units and the exhumation patterns of the source areas. These results suggest that the source areas were exhumed between the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, which may have resulted from the combination of Jurassic contraction and the Early Cretaceous extension. Between ∼120 and 100 Ma, a major stage of crustal extension is recorded in the Caballos Formation. Subsequently, between ∼100 and 80 Ma, sedimentation in the Villeta Group marks the end of the extension and the onset of contraction. This contractional phase was characterized by minor rock uplift within the basin. Basin modification continued between 80 and 65 Ma, involving two successive contractional stages that changed the sedimentary patterns, leading to the burial of a previously exhumed horst block and the appearance of new source areas. These major changes in source areas and sedimentary systems are the result of deformation episodes during prolonged extensional and contractional phases. This geologic evolution highlights the stages that characterize extensional to contractional settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number230303
JournalTectonophysics
Volume878
DOIs
StatePublished - May 10 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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