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Field excursion from central Chile to the Atacama Desert

By
Wes Gibbons
Wes Gibbons
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Teresa Moreno
Teresa Moreno
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Published:
January 01, 2007

Abstract

This final chapter is designed primarily for the foreign visitor to Chile who wishes to gain a broad overview of the field geology and scenery of central and northern Chile. We hope that it will also aid an appreciation of the nature of human interaction with this climatically and topographically challenging area, from the early settlers to the modern mining industry. This is a traverse along and across one of the world’s classic compressional ocean–continent subduction zones, where strong coupling between the oceanic and continental plates is linked to active mountain building, dramatic scenery, and frequent earthquake and volcanic activity. The drive moves north from Santiago, which lies in the forearc Central Valley west of the South American Southern Volcanic Zone, into one of the flat-slab Andean segments. Within this flat-slab zone we divert east to describe a west-to-east across-strike traverse from the coast into the High Andes where, because of the low dip of the subducting plate, volcanoes are absent (Chapters 4 and 5). Returning to the coast, the drive continues north into the latitude of the South American Central Volcanic Zone, with its superbly developed line of modern volcanoes in the hyperarid high Atacama Desert. A second west-to-east traverse from the coast to these volcanoes illustrates how the modern continental forearc region is segmented into a series of mountain belts and intervening basins, each with its own distinctive scenery and geology. Additional details on the rock units and places visited, and the tectonic settings of ancient and modern

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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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