Crustal shortening and structural architecture of the Interandean and Subandean zones of southern Bolivia (21°S): Constraints from a new balanced cross section

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Ryan Bruce Anderson1, Sean P Long1, Brian K Horton2, Amanda Calle3 and Victor Ramirez4, (1)Washington State University, School of the Environment, Pullman, WA, United States, (2)University of Texas at Austin, Department of Geological Sciences and Institute for Geophysics, Austin, TX, United States, (3)University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States, (4)Universidad Mayor de San Andrés,, Instituto de Investigaciones Geológicas y del Medio Ambiente, La Paz, Bolivia
Structural insights obtained from balanced cross sections, including thrust belt geometry, location of footwall ramps, and crustal shortening estimates, provide key information for testing model predictions of orogen dynamics (e.g., Cordilleran cyclicity, critical taper theory). New results from geologic mapping along an east-west transect in the central Andes are integrated with existing geophysical data to construct a balanced cross section across the Interandean (IAZ) and Subandean (SAZ) zones of southern Bolivia at 21°S, in order to define thrust belt geometry and estimate crustal shortening. The IAZ consists of a doubly vergent zone of 2-4 km-thick thrust sheets of mainly Silurian-Devonian rocks, which are structurally elevated ~10 km relative to equivalent SAZ levels to the east. Notably, our proposed IAZ geometry differs from published geometries that lack significant west-directed backthrusts. The SAZ is defined by regional-scale, fault-bend folds (10-20 km wavelength, 4-6 km amplitude) that exhume rocks as deep as Carboniferous above a 10-12 km-deep regional décollement in Silurian rocks. Previous studies have interpreted IAZ and SAZ shortening to be balanced by slip on two separate basement megathrust sheets at depth. We estimate 151 km (44%) of total east-west shortening in the IAZ (71 km) and SAZ (80 km), which is similar to a previous estimate (144 km, 42%). Importantly, our estimate of SAZ shortening restores the leading edge of the basement thrust sheet feeding displacement into the SAZ back to a corresponding footwall ramp that is constrained by a seismic reflection profile 90 km along strike to the south. Our shortening magnitudes are similar to nearby estimates to the north and south, which range between 60-86 km for the SAZ and 43-96 km for the IAZ. Future work will continue the cross section westward into the Eastern Cordillera hinterland, and explore potential variations in the geometry and style of basement deformation.