Abstract

Analyses of structures in the western part of the North Patagonian Massif (southern Argentina) suggest a polyphase evolution, accompanied by continuous intrusive activity. The first two deformations (D1, D2) and metamorphism affected the upper Palaeozoic, partly possibly older Cushamen Formation clastic succession and different intrusive rocks. A second group of intrusions, emplaced after the second deformational episode (D2), in many places contain angular xenoliths of the foliated country rocks, indicating high intrusive levels with brittle fracturing of the crust. Deformation of these magmatic rocks presumably began during (the final stage of) cooling and continued under solid-state conditions. It probably coincided with the third deformational event (D3) in the country rocks. Based on published U–Pb zircon ages of deformed granitoids, the D2-deformation and younger event along with the regional metamorphism are likely to be Permian in age. An onset of the deformational and magmatic history during Carboniferous times, however, cannot be excluded. The estimated ~W–E to NE–SW compression during the D2-deformation, also affecting the first group of intrusive rocks, can be related to subduction beneath the western Patagonia margin or an advanced stage of collisional tectonics within extra-Andean Patagonia. The younger ~N–S to NE–SW compression might have been an effect of oblique subduction in the west and/or continuing collision-related deformation. As a cause for its deviating orientation, younger block rotations during strike-slip faulting cannot be excluded. The previous D2-event presumably also had an effect on compression at the northern Patagonia margin that was interpreted as result of Patagonia’s late Palaeozoic collision with the southwestern Gondwana margin. With the recently proposed Carboniferous subduction and collision south of the North Patagonian Massif, the entire scenario might suggest that Patagonia consists of two different pieces that were amalgamated with southwestern Gondwana during Late Palaeozoic times.

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