Sedimentary record of regional deformation and dynamics of the thick-skinned southern Puna Plateau, central Andes (26-27°S)

Renjie Zhou, Lindsay M. Schoenbohm, Edward R. Sobel, Barbara Carrapa, Donald W. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The Puna Plateau, adjacent Eastern Cordillera and the Sierras Pampeanas of the central Andes are largely characterized by thick-skinned, basement-involved deformation. The Puna Plateau hosts ~N-S trending bedrock ranges bounded by deep-seated reverse faults and sedimentary basins. We contribute to the understanding of thick-skinned dynamics in the Puna Plateau by constraining regional kinematics of the poorly understood southern Puna Plateau through a multidisciplinary approach. On the southeastern plateau, sandstone modal composition and detrital zircon U-Pb and apatite fission-track data from Cenozoic strata indicate basin accumulation during the late Eocene to early Oligocene (~38-28 Ma). Provenance analysis reveals the existence of a regional-scale basin covering the southern Puna Plateau during late Eocene to early Oligocene time (~38-28 Ma) that was sourced from both the western plateau and the eastern plateau margin and had a depocenter located to the west. Petrographic and detrital zircon U-Pb data reveal erosion of proximal western and eastern sources after ~12 Ma, in mid-late Miocene time. This indicates that the regional basin was compartmentalized into small-scale depocenters by the growth of basement-cored ranges continuing into the late Miocene (~12-8 Ma). We suggest that the Cenozoic history of the southern Puna Plateau records the formation of a regional basin that was possibly driven by lithospheric flexure during the late Eocene to early Oligocene, before the growth of distributed basement-cored ranges starting as early as the late Oligocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-325
Number of pages9
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Apatite fission-track thermochronology
  • Basin analysis
  • Puna Plateau
  • Regional deformation
  • Thick-skinned deformation
  • Zircon U-Pb geochronology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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