Publication Date: 2014.
The NNW-trending Las Peñas Thrust System is one of the key structures along the Andean orogenic front between 32°15′ and 32°40′S in the Southern Precordillera of Argentina. This east-verging structure crops out over a distance of c. 40 km and provides one of the best opportunities for a detailed field survey of Quaternary thrusting in the Andean frontal deformation zone. We present a systematic description of the geometry and geomorphic signatures of the main thrust deformation zone, which emplaces Neogene rocks over Quaternary alluvium, and usually behaves as a blind propagating thrust into the youngest (Late Pleistocene–Holocene) alluvial deposits. The Las Peñas Thrust System is understood to represent the latest stage of the eastward migration of an imbricated fan structure, which has driven the neotectonic uplift of the Las Peñas–Las Higueras range. Excellent outcrops provided by well-incised creek outlets reveal that the thrust system is made up either by a single fault surface or by two or more frontal splays. Several sections along its length can be differentiated on the basis of thrust geometries and/or morphotectonic features. The northern sections are characterized by isolated outcrops of Neogene rocks in the hanging wall, surrounded by alluvial bajadas. Remnants of fold limbs scarps depict the geomorphic signature of the thrust propagation into the Quaternary layers, although the preserved topographic relief always underestimates the cumulated thrust slip during the Quaternary. The southern part of this thrust system is defined by a frontal range, cored by a transposed south-plunging anticline in bedrock. Our observations suggest a dynamic and unsteady interaction between thrust propagation and sedimentation/erosion processes along the thrust trace during deposition of the Quaternary alluvial layers.
Author affiliation: Costa, Carlos H.. Universidad Nacional de San Luis; Argentina
Author affiliation: Ahumada, Emilio Antonio. Universidad Nacional de San Luis; Argentina
Author affiliation: Gardini, Carlos Enrique. Universidad Nacional de San Luis; Argentina
Author affiliation: Vazquez, Fabricio Rodrigo. Universidad Nacional de San Luis; Argentina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina
Author affiliation: Diederix, Hans. Servicio Geológico Colombiano; Colombia
Repository: CONICET Digital (CONICET). Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas