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In terms of plate tectonics, most orogenic belts are arc, collision, or transform orogens marked by regional batholiths, overthrust nappes, and en echelon fold trains, respectively. None of these models fits the crustal buckling of the classic Laramide orogeny, marked in the central Rocky Mountains by fault-bounded, basement-cored uplifts separated by intervening sediment-filled basins. Reported patterns of current seismicity, volcanism, and deformation in the modern central Andes document two modes of subduction; one involves plate descent at an abnormally shallow angle and may simulate Laramide conditions. In the more familiar mode, a plate descending steeply into the asthenosphere beneath the...

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