High resolution crustal structure for the region between the Chilenia and Cuyania terrane above the Pampean flat slab of Argentina from local receiver function and petrological analyses
Abstract:Jean-Baptiste Ammirati 1,Sofía Perez 1, Patricia Alvarado 1, Susan L. Beck 2, Ryan Porter 3 and George Zandt 2
(1) CIGEOBIO-CONICET, Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Argentina
(2) The University of Arizona, USA
(3) Northern Arizona University, USA
At ~31ºS, The subduction of the Nazca plate under the South American plate presents along-strike variations of its dip angle referred to the Chilean-Pampean flat slab. Geological observations suggest that the regional crustal structure is inherited from the accretion of different terranes at Ordovician times and later reactivated during Andean compression since Miocene. Geophysical observations confirmed that the structure is extending in depth with décollement levels that accommodate crustal shortening in the region. In order to get a better insight on the shallow tectonics we computed high frequency local receiver functions from slab seismicity (~100 km depth). Local earthquakes present a higher frequency content that permits a better vertical resolution. Using a common conversion point (CCP) stacking method we obtained cross sections showing high-resolution crustal structure in the western part of the Pampean flat slab region, at the transition between the Precordillera and the Frontal Cordillera. Our results show a well-defined structure and their lateral extent for both units down to 80 km depth. In good agreement with previous studies, our higher resolution images better identify very shallow discontinuities putting more constraints on the relationships with the regional structural geology. Recent petrological analyses combined with RF high-resolution structure also allow us to better understand the regional crustal composition. Interestingly, we are able to observe a shifting structure beneath the Uspallata-Calingasta Valley, highlighting the differences in terms of crustal structure between the Precordillera and the Frontal Cordillera. Previously determined focal mechanisms in the region match well this shifting thrust structure down to ~40 km depth. Geological evidence suggests this suture corresponds to an early Devonian subduction zone and that this Devonian structure still accommodates deformation in the region even after intense compression and important crustal thickening during the past 20 million years.