Tertiary tectonics of the sub-Andean region of the North Patagonian Andes, southern central Andes of Argentina (41-42°30′S)

Raúl E. Giacosa*, Juan C. Afonso, C. Nemesio Heredia, José Paredes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The sub-Andean region of the North Patagonian Andes is located between the north Patagonian foreland and the highest elevations of the Andean Cordillera. Its Tertiary contractional structure, active since the upper Late Oligocene and through the upper Late Miocene, corresponds to the external sector of the North Patagonian Andes fold-and-thrust belt, which is characterized by east-vergent thrusts that affect stratified Cenozoic rocks. The units involved in the deformation correspond to El Maitén Oligocene volcanic belt, deformed between east-vergent thrusts and backthrusts, and Oligocene-Miocene sedimentary rocks of the Ñirihuau-Collón Curá Basin. The northern sector of the basin was structured as a thin-skinned fold belt that comprises the Ñirihuau fold belt and a frontal sedimentary wedge. To the south, sedimentary depocenters are confined between medium- to high-angle reverse faults with evidence of basement structural control. In both cases, the general tectonosedimentary framework shows the youngest units toward the east, in agreement with the advance of the orogenic wedge. Most of the Ñirihuau-Collón Curá Basin infill fits a foreland basin system model. Some sectors of the basin show evidence of structural control by normal faults in the initial sedimentation stages. This early extensional regime might be associated with late phases of Oligocene volcanism. Extensional structures probably were partially reactivated during the upper Late Oligocene, as suggested by seismic data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-170
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Andean tectonics
  • Fold-and-thrust belt
  • North Patagonian Andes
  • Sub-Andean region
  • Tertiary basins


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