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​Sedimentitas marinas del Neógeno en la bahía de Tumaco, Nariño

 Volume 3 Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Structural Styles of the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia   

Andreas KAMMER, Alejandro PIRAQUIVE, Cristhian GÓMEZ, Andrés MORA, and Antonio VELÁSQUEZ

https://doi.org/10.32685/pub.esp.37.2019.06


Citation is suggested as: 

Kammer, A., Piraquive, A., Gómez, C., Mora, A., & Velásquez, A. 2020. Structural styles of the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia. In: Gómez, J. & Mateus–Zabala, D. (editors), The Geology of Colombia, Volume 3 Paleogene – Neogene. Servicio Geológico Colombiano, Publicaciones Geológicas Especiales 37, 41 p. Bogotá. https://doi.org/10.32685/pub.esp.37.2019.06


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Abstract 


The Eastern Cordillera of Colombia is bracketed between the moderately west–dipping flank of the Central Cordillera on its western side and the little disturbed to gently bent Guiana Shield on its eastern side. Unlike other Andean foreland–oriented belts, it is completely disconnected from the main Andean trunk system. Transverse shortening of 4 mm/y records a considerable displacement transfer to the upper plate; this is twice the long–term rate of 2.2 mm/y, which is the average for a shortening of 65 km over a period of 30 Ma and suggests an increased recent shortening phase. We differentiate three structural domains. The southern domain records significant shortening by penetrative strain at lower structural levels and folding at higher structural levels, which supports the idea of partitioning into pure–shear deformation within the pre–Cretaceous basement and into buckling in the Upper Cretaceous to Paleogene units. Similar constellations of a relatively weak crustal welt enclosed between domains with backstop characteristics have been examined in analogue and numerical experiments (“vise model"). A northern intermediate domain is characterized by large–scale, basement–cored antiforms, whose formation may be ascribed to the partial reactivation of Late Triassic normal faults. The northernmost domain comprises the Cocuy Syntaxis, which constitutes an antiformal lobe with significant topographic relief. It is affected by secondary folds with a down–slope vergence. These changes in structural style record increased support by the subducting slab, according to the spatial coincidence of the outer slab hinge and the highest topographic relief within this northern Andean flat slab segment.

To examine a possible cause for a rheological break between deformable cordilleran crust sandwiched between relatively rigid and strong surrounding basement blocks, we review the Cretaceous back–arc setting. Tectonic subsidence and sedimentation patterns suggest its division into a forebulge and flanking basins that may be ascribed to the framework of an impinging mantle plume. Temporal constraints further suggest that forebulge evolution may have been triggered by an initial foundering of the slab at the onset of a Cretaceous subduction cycle. In such a small–scale convection system, downwelling mantle flow between the back–arc region and the stable shield may maintain a relatively well–defined rheological limit over long periods. This situation complies with the model of an edge–driven convective flow.

Rheological contrasts between the back–arc basin and the shield persisted into the Cenozoic and contributed to a protracted evolution of the Andean cordilleran mountain fronts. The eastern mountain front accumulated structural relief of more than 10 000 m during an initial Oligocene to late Miocene shortening phase. Fold growth incited by the buttressing of the strong foreland block of the shield can be tested by the tri–shear model, in which propagation of faulting is halted, and displacement is consumed by fold amplification. During a Pliocene stress reorganization, this Miocene mountain front was breached by a shallowly dipping thrust, which gave rise to a more foreland–oriented deformation front. During this outward–stepped faulting, proximal foreland sequences became involved in a wedge–top position and were exhumed at the thrust tip along emergent ramps. These second–cycle erosion products were widely dispersed into the Llanos Basin and were incorporated into modern fluvial terraces.

 

Keywords: back–arc basin, fault reactivation, gravitational collapse, Eastern Cordillera of Colombia.



Resumen

La cordillera Oriental de Colombia está encajada entre el flanco inclinado ligeramente al oeste de la cordillera Central, al costado occidental, y el Escudo de Guayana levemente flexionado, al costado oriental. A diferencia de otros cinturones andinos de antepaís, esta cadena montañosa está completamente desconectada del sistema principal andino. El acortamiento transversal de 4 mm/año registra una transferencia considerable de desplazamiento a la placa superior; este es el doble de una tasa de 2,2 mm/año, que es el promedio para un acortamiento de 65 km durante un intervalo de tiempo de 30 Ma y sugiere una acelerada fase de acortamiento reciente. En este trabajo diferenciamos tres dominios estructurales. El dominio meridional registra un acortamiento significativo por deformación penetrativa a niveles estructurales inferiores y plegamiento a niveles estructurales superiores, lo que respalda la idea de diferenciar entre deformación por cizalla pura en el basamento precretácico y entre un plegamiento por acortamiento horizontal en las unidades del Cretácico Superior al Paleógeno. Constelaciones similares de un entorno cortical relativamente débil contenido entre dominios con características de contrafuerte han sido examinadas en experimentos análogos y numéricos (vise model). Un dominio intermedio más septentrional se caracteriza por antiformes a gran escala, que involucran el basamento en su núcleo y cuya formación está predispuesta por la reactivación parcial de fallas normales del Triásico Tardío. El dominio más septentrional comprende la Sintaxis de Cocuy, un lóbulo antiformal de un mayor relieve topográfico. Esta se ve afectada por pliegues secundarios con una vergencia en dirección de la pendiente. Estos cambios en estilo estructural registran un aumento en el soporte de la losa subducida, como puede concluirse a partir de la coincidencia espacial entre bisagra externa de la losa en subducción y el relieve topográfico descomunal en este segmento de losa plana del norte andino.

Con el fin de examinar una posible causa para la existencia de un cinturón altamente deformable y encajado entre bloques circundantes de basamento relativamente rígidos y fuertes, examinamos la configuración de la cuenca de retroarco del Cretácico. Los patrones de subsidencia tectónica y sedimentación sugieren la existencia de región axial dominada por un abombamiento amplio o forebulge, que se delimita por cuencas marginales y cuyo origen se atribuye al impacto de una pluma mantélica. Las limitaciones temporales sugieren, además, que la evolución del abombamiento puede haber sido desencadenada por un hundimiento inicial de la losa al inicio de un ciclo de subducción cretácico. En un sistema de convección a tan pequeña escala, el flujo del manto descendente entre la región de retroarco y el escudo estable puede mantener un límite reológico relativamente bien definido durante largos períodos de tiempo. Esta situación cumple con el modelo de un flujo convectivo de tipo edge–driven.

Contrastes reológicos entre la cuenca de retroarco y el escudo perduraron hasta el Cenozoico y contribuyeron a una evolución prolongada de los frentes cordilleranos andinos. Un antiforme del frente montañoso oriental acumuló un relieve estructural de más de 10 000 m durante una fase de acortamiento inicial entre el Oligoceno y el Mioceno tardío. El crecimiento de este pliegue fue inducido por el efecto de contrafuerte del bloque de antepaís del escudo. Este proceso puede ser probado por el modelo tri–shear, en el cual se detiene la propagación de falla y se consume el desplazamiento por la amplificación de este frente montañoso. Durante una reorganización del campo de esfuerzos en el Plioceno, este frente montañoso fue afectado por una falla fuera de secuencia con un buzamiento moderado, que dio lugar a un frente de deformación orientado más hacía el antepaís. En este fallamiento, las secuencias proximales de antepaís se involucraron en una posición de tipo supracuña o wedge–top y se exhumaron a lo largo de una falla emergente, que forma la base de un manto corrido. Estos productos de erosión de segundo ciclo se dispersaron ampliamente en la Cuenca de los Llanos, incorporándose a las terrazas fluviales modernas.

 

Palabras clave: cuenca de retroarco, reactivación de falla, colapso gravitacional, cordillera Oriental de Colombia


Abbreviations

EC                                      Eastern Cordillera

LREE                             Light rare earth element


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