Abstract

The Sierras Pampeanas consist of basement uplifts that are mainly controlled by W-verging crustal thrusts. One of these, the Sierra Pie de Palo, is controlled by a blind thrust whose kinematics is debated. We analysed the reverse faults located along the eastern side of the range and show that these are characterized by small displacements (few hundreds of metres) of the Neogene and Quaternary deposits controlled by the inherited basement metamorphic foliation and shear zones. At the sierra scale, the inherited foliation pattern appears already folded, before the Cenozoic shortening, forming a series of antiforms and synforms with various wavelengths. We propose that this structure is amplified during the Plio-Quaternary shortening, resulting in a large asymmetrical basement-cored anticline where foliation-parallel slip can act as folding mechanism. The overall kinematics is consistent with an E-verging fault-propagation fold; this proposed kinematics is an alternative to the frequently suggested W-verging fault-bend fold model. Finally, we propose a new, alternative and speculative crustal and lithospheric structure for this region consisting of two E-verging basement thrusts coeval to W-verging Pampean thrusts, both rooting below the Precordillera, above an eclogitized lower crust.

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