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Thermochronology of allochthonous terranes in Ecuador : unravelling the accretionary and post-accretionary history of the Northern Andes

Spikings, R.A.; Winkler, W.; Hughes, R.A.; Handler, R.. 2005 Thermochronology of allochthonous terranes in Ecuador : unravelling the accretionary and post-accretionary history of the Northern Andes. Tectonophysics, 399 (1-4). 195-220. 10.1016/j.tecto.2004.12.023

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Abstract/Summary

The western cordilleras of the Northern Andes (north of 5°S) are constructed from allochthonous terranes floored by oceanic crust. We present 40Ar/39Ar and fission-track data from the CordilleraOccidental and Amotape Complex of Ecuador that probably constrain the time of terrane collision and post-accretionary tectonism in the western Andes. The data record cooling rates of 80–2 °C/my from temperatures of ∼540 °C, during 85 to 60 Ma, in a highly tectonised mélange (Pujilí unit) at the continent–ocean suture and in the northern Amotape Complex. The rates were highest during 85–80 Ma and decelerated towards 60 Ma. Cooling was a consequence of exhumation of the continental margin, which probably occurred in response to the accretion of the presently juxtaposing Pallatanga Terrane. The northern Amotape Complex and the Pujilí unit may have formed part of a single, regional scale, tectonic mélange that started to develop at ~85 Ma, part of which currently comprises the basement of the Interandean Depression. Cooling and rotation in the allochthonous, continental, Amotape Complex and along parts of the continent–ocean suture during 43–29 Ma, record the second accretionary phase, during which the Macuchi Island Arc system collided with the Pallatanga Terrane. Distinct periods of regional scale cooling in the CordilleraOccidental at ∼13 and ∼9 Ma were synchronous with exhumation in the Cordillera Real and were probably driven by the collision of the Carnegie Ridge with the Ecuador Trench. Finally, late Miocene–Pliocene reactivation of the Chimbo–Toachi Shear Zone was coincident with the formation of the oldest basins in the Interandean Depression and probably formed part of a transcurrent or thrust system that was responsible for the inception and subsequent growth of the valley since ∼6 Ma.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.tecto.2004.12.023
Programmes: BGS Programmes > International
ISSN: 0040-1951
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 24 Jul 2012 15:23
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/18870

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