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Abstract

The Tres Pasos Formation, Magallanes Basin, Chile, represents the deposit of a submarine slope depositional system. The formation is approximately 1500 m thick where exposed in the Ultima Esperanza district of southernmost Chile. It is characterized by a basal turbiditic sandstone unit up to 200 m thick that shows a north-to-south, proximal-to-distal facies evolution from turbidite channel-fill complexes to sheet-like sandstone units. This unit is interpreted as having been deposited at or near the base of slope. Overlying the basal sandstone unit is approximately 500 m of amalgamated mass transport complexes, fine-grained strata, and channelized and non-channelized turbidity current deposits, collectively comprising the middle part of the formation. Mass transport complexes exert a primary control on the character and grain size of turbidite sandstone bodies in the basal and middle part of the formation. In the southern part of the study area, a 300 m thick coarse-grained unit interpreted as a turbidite channel-fill complex partially replaces the middle part. The upper part of the formation is approximately 500 m thick and consists primarily of fine-grained strata. Failure scarps and thin turbidite channel-fill units are present in this upper part, interpreted as upper slope deposits.

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