Prolonged Movement on a > 10-km-Wide Thrust During Early Paleozoic Orogens in the Gondwana Margin of NW Argentina

Ivan Semenov, Roberto F. Weinberg, Richard J.M. Taylor, Fred Jourdan

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The >10-km thick Paleozoic Guacha Corral shear zone in Central Argentina is arguably one of the thickest thrust zones anywhere. It played a key role during the two early Paleozoic orogenies of western Gondwana and currently separates two terranes: one dominated by events related to the >510-Ma Pampean Orogeny and the other by the >500-Ma events of the Famatinian Orogeny. The combination of structures and geochronometry suggests that the shear zone was active for over 100 Ma. Thrusting started during migmatization at 520 Ma as recorded by U-Pb ages in zircon and monazite and was demonstrably active also at 480 and 470 Ma. The age coincidence between Ar plateau ages of muscovite and biotite at 420 Ma in the upper part of the shear zone, and at 405 Ma in the lower part suggests two intense cooling pulses. These are ascribed to thrusting, rapid exhumation, and cooling. Its anomalous width is likely a result of this prolonged kinematic history related to its role in transferring shortening to the Pampean forearc possibly as a basal detachment and later by acting as the main boundary between the Pampean and Famatinian tectonometamorphic terranes. The two low-temperature shearing events inferred from the Ar ages suggest that deformation continued during the period between the end of the Famatinian cycle at ~440 Ma and the start of the Chanic or Achalian Orogeny and its magmatism after 400 Ma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3210-3236
Number of pages27
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Achalian Orogen
  • Chanic Orogen
  • Famatinian Orogen
  • geochronology
  • Pampean Orogen
  • thrust

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