Neotectonic Activity in the Low-Strain Broken Foreland (Santa Bárbara System) of the North-Western Argentinean Andes (26_S)

Ahmad Arnous, Martin Zeckra, Agostina Venerdini, Patricia Alvarado, Ramón Arrowsmith, Julien Guillemoteau, Angela Landgraf, Antonio Gutiérrez, Manfred R. Strecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Uplift in the broken Andean foreland of the Argentine Santa Bárbara System (SBS) is associated with the contractional reactivation of basement anisotropies, similar to those reported from the thick-skinned Cretaceous-Eocene Laramide province of North America. Fault scarps, deformed Quaternary deposits and landforms, disrupted drainage patterns, and medium-sized earthquakes within the SBS suggest that movement along these structures may be a recurring phenomenon, with yet to be defined repeat intervals and rupture lengths. In contrast to the Subandes thrust belt farther north, where eastward-migrating deformation has generated a well-defined thrust front, the SBS records spatiotemporally disparate deformation along structures that are only known to the first order. We present herein the results of geomorphic desktop analyses, structural field observations, and 2D electrical resistivity tomography and seismic-refraction tomography surveys and an interpretation of seismic reflection profiles across suspected fault scarps in the sedimentary basins adjacent to the Candelaria Range (CR) basement uplift, in the south-central part of the SBS. Our analysis in the CR piedmont areas reveals consistency between the results of near-surface electrical resistivity and seismic-refraction tomography surveys, the locations of prominent fault scarps,and structural geometries at greater depth imaged by seismic reflection data. We suggest that this deformation is driven by deep-seated blind thrusting beneath the CR and associated regional warping, while shortening involving Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary strata in the adjacent basins was accommodated by layer-parallel folding and flexural-slip faults that cut through Quaternary landforms and deposits at the surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 28 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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