Northern Andes laboratory
The geometry, kinematics and evolution of thick- and thin-skinned fold and thrust-belts have been characterized for many tectonic provinces. However, the impact of prior extension in the structural evolution of fold and thrust-belts remains under-appreciated. We use a series of balanced cross sections across areas of thin- and thick-skinned tectonics superimposed over former extensional structures in order to characterize the style of deformation, segmentation and displacement magnitude. We detect the style of fault linkage in foothill settings adjacent to inversion belts. The most relevant aspect is the presence of inherited ‘soft linkages’ generating zones of displacement deficit, which in contraction interact laterally with en-echelon inverted segments via ‘detachment linkages’. We document the temporal development and interaction between inverted faults and fault splays branching from them where both are coeval but where the frontal fault tips propagate more slowly during Oligocene and Early Miocene times. Later, during the Neogene, the frontal fault splays slip faster than the main inversion fault. The structural style of thrust-belt development displays along-strike variations, which reflect the changes in sedimentation rates and mechanical conditions of deformation. However, the timing and magnitude of shortening remain uniform along-strike.
Figures & Tables
Thick-Skin-Dominated Orogens: From Initial Inversion to Full Accretion
This volume studies the driving dynamic for thick-skin tectonics. It evaluates the role of various factors that control the development of thick-skin architecture. The studied driving dynamics include individual plate movement rates, overall convergence rates, orogen movement sense with respect to mantle flow and pro-wedge versus retro-wedge location. Numerous internal factors that influence the architecture of thick-skinned dominated orogens have been considered. These include the role of the rheology of the deforming layers, the presence or absence of potential detachment horizons, basement buttresses, crustal thickness variations, inherited strength contrasts and the impact of pre-existing anisotropy in thick-skin orogenic deformation. External factors discussed include the role of both syn-tectonic erosion and deposition in deformation.
The study areas begin with worldwide examples and close with a detailed coverage of the Northern Andes natural laboratory, which is characterized by particularly robust data coverage.