Jose Cembrano, Alain Lavenu, Gonzalo Yañez (coordinators), Rodrigo Riquelme, Marcelo García, Gabriel González, Gerard Hérail, 2007. "Neotectonics", The Geology of Chile, Teresa Moreno, Wes Gibbons
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Nazca–South American plate interaction provides a classic example of a subduction-type convergent margin (e.g. Dewey & Bird 1970), in which the continental lithosphere overrides the oceanic plate. Evidence of subduction processes having taken place along the western margin of South America since at least Triassic times has been thoroughly described in the literature (e.g. Mpodozis & Ramos 1989) and elsewhere in this book. Although subduction has been an essentially continuous process along the Andes, its impact on the geological evolution of the continent varies with time and along-strike (e.g. Jordan et al. 1983b, 2001). Plate kinematics, the subduction of passive and/or active ridges, fracture zones, plate age at the trench, and climate change have all been invoked as controlling factors for continental plate geological evolution and segmentation (e.g. Jarrard 1986; Gutscher et al. 2000b;, Yañez et al.2001;, Lamb & Davis 2003; Yáñez & Cembrano 2004; Sobolev & Babeyko 2005). Figure 9.1 shows the tectonic and morphologic elements that shape the geological evolution of the Andean margin. The tectonic segmentation shown on this figure provides a useful reference for the geological evolution of the Andes.
The Andean mountain chain trends NNE–SSW between latitudes 18°S and 48°S with slight local variations in strike but with significant latitudinal changes in morphotectonic configuration (Fig. 9.1). Between 18°S and 28°S, the Andes consist, from west to east, of the Coastal Cordillera, Central Depression, Precordillera and Western (Main) Cordillera with the Altiplano and Puna to
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This book is the first comprehensive account in English of the geology of Chile, providing a key reference work that brings together many years of research, and written mostly by Chilean authors from various universities and other centres of research excellence. The 13 chapters begin with a general overview, followed by detailed accounts of Andean tectonostratigraphy and magmatism, the amazingly active volcanism, the world class ore deposits that have proven to be so critical to the welfare of the country, and Chilean water resources. The subject then turns to geophysics with an examination of neotectonics and earthquakes, the hazardous frequency of which is a daily fact of life for the Chilean population. There are chapters on the offshore geology and oceanography of the SE Pacific Ocean, subjects that continue to attract much research not least from those seeking to understand world climatic variations, and on late Quaternary land environments, concluding with an account examining human colonization of southernmost America.
During his voyage on H.M.S. Beagle, an extended visit to Chile (1834-35) had a profound impact on Charles Darwin, especially on his understanding of volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. Over more recent decades scientists have come to recognize the Chilean Andes as providing the classic example of a mountain belt produced by oceanic subduction beneath a continent, as well as some of the most dramatic scenic and climatic variations on Earth. In the final chapter, the editors offer a description of a drive from the Mediterranean landscapes of central Chile to the hyperarid Atacama Desert, a contribution designed to give visitors a chance to experience for themselves the geology and scenery of this extraordinary country.