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Abstract

The southern Patagonian Cordillera south of the present location of the Chile Triple Junction (46.5°S) preserves distinctive deformational and backarc magmatic features that are a consequence of a series of northward-propagating ridge collision events that started at ca. 14 Ma. An abrupt increase of ~2000 m of topographic elevation and the exhumation and uplift of mid-Miocene to Pliocene plutons within the cordillera south of the Chile Triple Junction is accomplished by horizontal compressive deformation (both thin- and thick-skinned) within the Patagonian fold-thrust belt. Ridge-trench collisions have formed asthenospheric slab windows beneath the southern Patagonian Cordillera. Backarc magmatism associated with slab window formation includes a distinctive suite of adakites and extensive outpourings of oceanic island basalt (OIB)-like plateau basalts. The adakites formed from the partial melting of the young, hot trailing edge of the Nazca plate that preceded slab window opening, whereas the OIB-like plateau basalts formed from dynamic asthenospheric flow as the slab windows opened up beneath the backarc.

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