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Metamorphic and plutonic basement complexes

By
Francisco Hervé (coordinator)
Francisco Hervé (coordinator)
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Victor Faundez
Victor Faundez
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Mauricio Calderón
Mauricio Calderón
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Hans-Joachim Massonne
Hans-Joachim Massonne
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Arne P. Willner
Arne P. Willner
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Published:
January 01, 2007

Abstract

The present-day Andes have formed in response to subduction-related processes operating continuously along the western margin of South America since the Jurassic period. When these processes started, the continental margin was mainly formed of metamorphic complexes and associated magmatic rocks which evolved during Proterozoic (?), Palaeozoic and Triassic times, and which now constitute the basement to the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Andean sequences. These older units are commonly referred to in the Chilean geological literature as the ‘basement’ or the ‘crystalline basement’.

The basement rocks crop out discontinuously (Fig. 2.1) in northern Chile, both in the coastal areas and in the main cordillera. In contrast, from latitude 34°S southwards, they form an almost continuous belt within the Coastal Cordillera extending to the Strait of Magellan. In addition, sparse outcrops occur both in the main Andean cordillera as well as further east in the Aysen and Magallanes regions. In the first maps and syntheses of the geology of Chile (e.g. Ruiz 1965) these rocks were generally considered to be of Precambrian age, forming a western continuation of the Brasilian craton. Later work has demonstrated that rocks first described as metamorphic basement units show a wide range of metamorphic grades and ages extending from possible Late Proterozoic through Palaeozoic and even, in some cases, to Jurassic–Cretaceous.

With regard to previous works that have attempted to synthesize data on Chilean basement geology, the reader is referred to those by González-Bonorino (1970, 1971), González-Bonorino & Aguirre (1970), Aguirre et al.

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Geological Society, London, Geology of Series

The Geology of Chile

Teresa Moreno
Teresa Moreno
Earth Sciences Institute ‘Jaume Almera’, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Barcelona, Spain
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Wes Gibbons
Wes Gibbons
AP 23075, Barcelona, Spain
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
9781862393936
Publication date:
January 01, 2007

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