Abstract

The Coloso Formation is an early Cretaceous conglomerate-dominated molasse sequence in northern Chile. The sequence was deposited rapidly and records the unroofing of granodioritic and andesitic source rocks. Thin sand units throughout the sequence have been studied palaeomagnetically; the results are complex but can be related to the diagenesis of arid-zone alluvium. Natural remanent magnetization (NRM) may be normal or reversed but is usually a combination of the two. Isolation of magnetic components by vector analysis of thermal and AF demagnetization data yields both normal and reversed components which are approximately antiparallel and yield an average pole position at 70°S, 192°E. This is consistent with late Cretaceous data from northern Chile but not with the established apparent polar wander (APW) path for South America. It may indicate late Cretaceous remagnetization but is considered to be more likely an indication that the present APW path assumes no tectonic rotation and that important relative movements have taken place between northern Chile and Argentina.

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