Inversion tectonics under increasing rates of shortening and sedimentation: Cenozoic example from the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia

Andrés Mora, Andrés Reyes-Harker, Guillermo Rodriguez, Eliseo Tesón, Juan Carlos Ramirez-Arias, Mauricio Parra, Víctor Caballero, José Pedro Mora, Isaid Quintero, Víctor Valencia, Mauricio Ibañez, Brian K. Horton, Daniel F. Stockli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Northern Andes of Colombia is a key locality for understanding tectonic inversion of symmetric rifts. A review of available data on structural geometry and deformation timing, and new thermochronology and provenance data from selected localities, enable the construction of balanced cross-sections and shortening budgets. During early deformation in the Palaeocene, most shortening was focused in the western sector of the orogen, in the Central Cordillera and the Magdallena Valley, although widely spaced and mild inversion occur in areas as far to the east as the Llanos Basin. After a period of tectonic quiescence in the Middle Eocene, deformation resumed across a former early Mesozoic graben in the Eastern Cordillera. Peak shortening rates and out-of-sequence reactivation of the main inversion faults were in place in latest Miocene time, during a phase of topographical growth. Our results indicate that coeval activation of basement highs and adjacent slower-slip shortcuts appear to be characteristic of inverted symmetric grabens. However, before reactivation and brittle faulting occur, strain hardening is required. Deformation rates in the Eastern Cordillera correlate with the westwards velocity of the South American Plate.A threshold convergence rate of approximately 2 cm year21 seems to be necessary to activate shortening in the upper plate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-442
Number of pages32
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Volume377
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Geology

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