This study explores the role of crustal shortening as a mechanism for Late Cenozoic surface uplift in the northern Bolivian Andes between c. 16°S and c. 19°S, based on new geological cross-sections across the Corque–Corocoro basin in the Altiplano (c. 60 km thick crust today), and published radiometric ages of volcanic rocks, in the context of a simple 2D crustal balancing model. Deformation since c. 10 Ma (mainly between 10 and 6 Ma) involved 28 ± 7 km of shortening across the Corque–Corocoro basin, with a wider zone of lower crustal strain, and a total of c. 70 km of underthrusting in the Subandes. The uplift model is supported by dynamical analyses and is identical within 2σ error to published palaeo-elevation proxies, with 2.5 ± 0.5 km of surface uplift in the Corque–Corocoro basin since c. 10 Ma (1.8 ± 0.5 km between 10 and 6 Ma), and 1.6 ± 0.5 km outside the basin. In this way, the Late Cenozoic palaeo-elevation record in the northern Bolivian Andes can be explained within error entirely in terms of the Late Cenozoic crustal thickening expected for the observed history of crustal shortening.

You do not currently have access to this article.