Miocene fragmentation of the Central Andean foreland basins between 26 and 28°S

S. Zapata, E. R. Sobel, C. del Papa, C. Muruaga, R. Zhou

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18 Scopus citations


We present new U-Pb LA-ICP-MS data from the Central Andean foreland basins combined with new and published stratigraphic information in order to reconstruct the Miocene fragmentation of the Andean foreland between 26 and 28°S. The disruption of this foreland basin and the subsequent development of elevated intermountain basins have been the focus of several studies. However, the absence of temporal constraints in the Miocene to Pliocene sedimentary record of the low elevation Choromoro and Tucuman foreland basins has presented an obstacle for precise paleogeographic reconstructions. We describe 11 discontinuous stratigraphic sections and use the U-Pb LA-ICP-MS method to date 10 pyroclastic-bearing sediments in order to reconstruct the stratigraphic evolution of the Choromoro and Tucuman basins. We combine our results with published stratigraphic and thermochronologic data from adjacent basins to present a refined Miocene paleogeographic model. In a first stage, a continuous Early Miocene foreland lacustrine basin developed, filling up the preexisting Paleogene topography. The second stage is characterized by basin unroofing around ∼12 Ma; the easily eroded sedimentary cover was removed, leading to the uplift of the underlying basement rocks and the segmentation of the lacustrine system. In the third stage, relief increase took place after ∼6 Ma due to the low erodibility of the basement blocks; as a result, stable fluvial systems developed. Progressive relief development caused pronounced unconformities in the basins and the development of proximal fluvial-gravitational depositional systems after 3 Ma. This model emphasizes on the relations between tectonics, climate, and erodibility, and their control on the evolution of the depositional systems and relief.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102238
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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