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J. STIEFEL-- Das Andenprofil im Bereieh des 45. siidl$chen Breitengrades

MUI~OZ CllISTI, J,: Estudios petrogr/tficos y petroldgieos sobre el Batolito de la Costa de las provincias de Santiago y Valparaiso. -- Anal. Fae. Ciene. Fis. Mat., Univ. de Chile, 20--21, 7--98, 29 Tar., Santiago de Chile 1964. NORDENSKJOLD, O.: Die krystallinisehen Gesteine der Magellanesl~inder. -- Wiss. Ergeb: d. Sehwed. Exp. nach den Magellanesl~indern, Bd. 1, Nr. 6, 175--240, Stockholm 1905. QUENSEL, P, D.: Geologiseh-petrographisehe Studien in der patagonisehen Cordil- lera. -- Bull. Geol. Inst. Univ. Uppsala, 11 (1911/12), 1--114, 5 Tar., Upp- sala 1911. RuIz F., C.: Posibilidades mineras de Ays6n. -- 70 S., Santiago de Chile (Im- prenta Universitaria) 1946. --: Geologla y Yaeimientos Metaliferos de Chile. -- X + 805 S., Lagerstiitten- verz. i. Anh., Santiago de Chile (Inst. Invest. Geol.) 1965,

ZEIL, W.: Geologie von Chile. -- XI d- 288 S., Berlin (Borntraeger)


Metamorphic facies series of the crystalline basement of Chile

By FELIX GONZ~LEZ-BoNoItINOand LuIs AGUIRllE,Santiago de Chile *)

With 2 figures


Die Haupttypen der metamorphen Gesteine Chiles und deren Mineralzusam- mensetzung werden beschrieben und deren metamorphe Fazies eharakterisiert. Das chilenische kristalline Grundgebirge besteht in der Hauptsaehe aus Graniten und semipelitischen Gesteinen, die unter den Bedingungen der niedriggradigen Metamorphose umgewandeh wurden. Die Gesteine sind in der Regel in der Kfistenzone Sfid- und Zentral-Chiles aufgeschlossen; in Nord-Chile treten sie isoliert auf. Radiometrisehe Altersbestimmungen ergaben sowohl fiir die Tiefen- wie fiir die metamorphen Gesteine ein sp~itpal~iozoisches Alter. In Zentral-Chile wurden drei metamorphe Serien erkannt und fiir eine erste Klassifiziernng der metamorphen Gesteine dieses Gebietes herangezogen. Die Serien entstanden in der Hauptsaehe dureh Metamorphoseprozesse, die nnter mittleren bis hohen, mittleren bis tiefen und tiefen Driicken abliefen. Die Bildung dieser Serien, ihre Beziehung zu MIYASHIRO'Szirkumpazifischen Giirtelpaaren und die Rolle des Grundgebirges w~ihrend der Anden-Orogenese werden kurz diskutiert.


The main roek types and mineral assemblages of the metamorphic rocks of

the territory of Chile are deseribed, and the metamorphic facies are identified.


pelitie metamorphic and granitic rocks, exposed mostly along the coastal area of Central and Southern Chile, and in isolated areas of Northern Chile. Radio-

of Chile consists of predominantly low-grade, semi-

crystalline basement

*) Adress of authors: Universidad de Chile, Departamento de Geologia, Casilla 18518, Correo 15, Santiago, Chile.

62 *



metric ages of both metamorphic and igneous rocks indicate Late Paleozoic. Three metamorphic series were recognized in Central Chile and used for a tentative classification of the metamorphic rocks from the remaining areas. The series correspond to intermediate-high pressure, intermediate-low pressure, and low pressure conditions of metamorphism, respectively. The formation of these series, their relation to MPrASHIRO'Seireumpacific paired belts, and the role of the basement during the Andean orogeny, are briefly discussed.


Se deseriben los principales tipos de rocas y asoeiaciones minerales del basa- mento eristalino del territorio chileno. Este basamento consiste predominante- mente de roeas metam6rficas semipelRicas de bajo grado y de roeas graniticas, expuestas de prefereneia a lo largo de la regi6n eostera de Chile Central y Austral yen areas aisladas de Chile Septentrional. La edad radiom6trica de las roeas metam6rfieas y granitieas indiea Neopaleozoieo. En Chile Central se encontraron tres series metam6rficas, las que fueron empleadas para la clasi-

ficaei6n provisoria de las rocas de otras partes del pais. Estas series corresponden a condieiones de metamorfismo a presiones intermedia-alta, intermedia-baja, y baja, respectivamente. Se discuten brevemente la formaei6n de las series, su

de MIYASnrRO, y el papel del

relaei,6n a los areos cireumpaeificos apareados basamento durante la orog6nesis andina.

I4paT~oe co~Iepmam~e



THIIbI MeTaM0pd)HblX



a TaHH~e

d)al~ilfi. ~peBHHe gpHcTa~iiiqecH:4e

pasoM H3 rpaH~TOB, semipelitischen Gesteinen, o6pa3oBanmHxe~ npH HII- UnOTeMnepaTypHoM ~eTaM0p/~oSMe. OT~ IIopo~L: paciio~aramTcn y no- 6epembu ~omuoro H J4eHTpa~HOrO ~IH~g, n ceeepHoM tIIIaH OHH BCTpe- qaDTc~ TO~r OqeHb peBHo. G n0MOttIMO pa~HOMeTpHqecHHx H3MepeHI~fI B03paCT DT~XIIop0~ OTHeC~I: ~ II08i:iieMy iia~eo3oIo. B ReHTpa~hHOi~ qaCTH

vI~al4 yCTaHOBHaH TpH MeTaM0pqp0gs:e cepu~ ~iipoBeaa ~x R:acc~nnaagm. OT~ cep~H o6paaoBaJmcb npu npot~eccax MeTaM0p~)H3Ma, npoTe~anm~x npn cpeKggx g B~:co~x AaB~eH~aX. IIo eB0eMy o6pauoBan~o on~4 0qeIIB CX0~HB: C nopo~aMg, npn~a~Iema~i:Mg i~ T~X00HeaHCn0My noucy Miyashiro.



In Chilean geology the term "crystalline basement" customarily com- prises all regionally metamorphosed and intrusive rocks of pre-Mesozoic

age. The crystalline basement is exposed mainly along the Pacific coast of Chile from the Peruvian border to the island of Tierra del Fuego; north of Santiago, however, the coastal basement belt is exposed quite dis- continuously (Fig. 1). In Northern Chile, the basement underlies -- and is mostly hidden by -- the Mesozoic lava flows and marine and terrestrial volcanic sediments of the Coast Range, whereas in Central Chile (82~ to

49.~ S, approximately)

including its southern continuation through Chilo6 Island and Los Chonos Archipelago. Not all the basement rocks are on the coast, however; few small inliers are found as a series of upthrust blocks strewn along the western slope of the Andes (Fig. 1). South of about 46 ~ S the crystalline

it makes up the main body of the Coast Range,


C~5L. AGUtP.,tI2 "Textt.a Fel

1968. (;s,olfgico de Chile, So:ale 1 : J-,000,000


the Mapa

modiJied s Santiago,

an~[ slightly GooI6gicas,

de Invcstigaciones






ba.seuLezlt by of the

are~ts eft the; crystalJ[n~ published


Geologische l~m~dschau; Band


Fig. 1

F. GONZ~LEZ-BONOI~INOU. a. -- Metamorphic facies of the crystalline basement

belt, somewhat offset to the east, follows the fiord country along the western border of Chile between the Mesozoic-Cenozoic Andean belt on the east and the Upper Paleozoic sediments on the West. The basement metamorphies are, by and large, low-grade, semipelitic slates, phyllites and schists and, in parts, their hornfelsie derivatives. These rocks were until recently considered Precambrian in Northern and Central Chile, and Paleozoie in Southern Chile (see RuIz, 1965); according to later radiometrie data, however, at least most of the metamorphic basement in the former area would also be Paleozoic (see "Age"). The intrusive basement rocks are granites and granodiorites and their deri- vatives, and very minor proportion of basic and ultrabasie rocks. The oldest dated granitic rocks are Paleozoic; in fact, no Preeambrian rock of any kind has yet been reported from Chile.

Paleozoie (Devonian to Permian) rocks, essentially unmetamorphosed and/or fossiliferous, are exposed in relatively small areas at various lati- tudes. The correlation between these rocks and those of the crystalline basement is doubtful; usually, the metamorphics are considered older but, according to the chronological data available, there must be a con- siderable age overlap. The study of field relationships between the Paleo- zoic formations and the crystalline basement is hindered by the fact that the two units are generally apart from each other. The knowledge of the Chilean crystalline basement is scanty. Reviews of the main basement areas and rock types were published by Mv~oz Caisri (1950, 1956) and A~trial~E (1965). Observations on restricted areas were published by Mv~oz C~ISTI (1942, 1960, 1964; on Los Vilos, San Antonio, and Central Coast Range, respectively); AGUmRE (1967; LOS Choros); VEYL (1961; Concepei6n); ILLIES(1960; Valdivia); SALIOT(1968; Chilo6 Island); Rtrlz (1946; Province of Ays6n); KATZ (1962; Province of


and KnANK (1982; Tierra del Fuego). More recently, one of the


authors (GoNZ~LEZ-BoNomNO, 1970) completed a study of the

metamorphic zones and series of the Coast Range of Central Chile be- tween 34 ~ and 41 ~ S.



(Vallenar, 28050 " S); G. ROESCHMANN(Mincha, 81 ~ 85' S); F. HERV~ (Val-

paraiso, 88 ~ 10' S, and Lake

(Fiord Martinez, 54~ 80' S). The authors are indebted to these geologists for such valuable information.














from the

following workers






General Carrera, 46~

The Antarctic territory is not included in the present review.




deeply indebted


Dr. B. LEvi for her


criticism during the preparation of the manuscript.

The metamorphic series in Central Chile

A study of the metamorphic belt in the Coast Range of Central Chile

1970) has revealed the presence of three different


metamorphic facies series, i.e. areas of progressive metamorphism charac-



terized by a distinctive succession of mineral zones and/or facies (Fig. 2). By far, the most extensive area is occupied by the Cur e p to series, which consists of three mineral zones, all within the greensehist facies, developed under intermediate- to high-pressure, and dynamothermal con- ditions. The P i e h i I e m u series shows seven zones and subzones grading from the greensehist facies to the granulite facies and was developed under low-to-intermediate-pressure conditions. The temperature gradients of these two series are opposite to each other. The third series --- N i r i- v i 1o series -- is essentially a thermal aureole of the Pa!eozoie granitic batholith, and has been formed at greater depth than those of the previous series. In the following sections, the principal characteristics of the three series are described, and an attempt is made to identify and classify the facies of the rest of the metamorphic areas of the country, according to the above three-fold scheme of facies series. Since the information available about mineral assemblages and zoning in most of these areas is insufficient, the proposed classification is only tentative and will un- doubtely be modified by future petrological studies. It is even quite possible that such studies will disclose the presence of other series in addition to the ones described here.

Intermediate- to high-pressure (Curepto) series General Statement

The intermediate-high pressure series, or Curepto series, has been mapped (GoNZALEZ-BONOItINO,1970) between 84 ~ and 41 ~ S, and re- cognized both south in the insular region of Patagonia, and north in isolated areas mostly along the coast up to Perti. The Curepto series in Central Chile comprises exclusively rocks of the greenschist facies, but higher temperature facies are represented in other areas.

Greenschist facies

C e n t r a 1

C h i 1e.



the Curepto belt between 84 ~ and 41 ~ S, the

greenschist facies is divided into three longitudinal, narrow mineral zones with increasing grade toward the west. The easternmost zone (Zone Ii Fig. 2) consists of metasandstones and slates (quartz-muscovite-chlorite- albite); the middle zone (Zone II) is made up of phyllites and quartz- phyllites (quartz-muscovite-biotite-albite); in the westernmost zone (Zone III), the rocks are quartz-mieaschists (quartz-muscovite-ehlorite-albite _+ spessartite). The latter zone widens markedly south of 88 ~ S, and the slate and phyllite zones are thereby shifted to the east. The mineralogy and textures indicate a temperature increase to the west. The presence of chlorite instead of biotite in Zone III is interpreted as due to H and Mg meta- somatism rather than to diaphtoresis. Nodular albite is typical of this

zone and reflects a higher Na-content as compared with the other zones. Quartz veining is abundant in the mica-schists.






















50 km













360 ~J














+ +

+ +~









Fig. 2. Map showing the distribution of the facies series and mineral zones in the north part of the Coast Range crystalline basement belt, Central Chile.


Stilpnomelane, piedmontite, lawsonite (F. HEIIVI~, written communica- tion, 1969) and glaucophanic amphibole (O. ALVAItEZ,oral communication, 1969) are also present in scattered localities of Zone III. The last two minerals were found in separate localities and the presence of a typical glaucophane-lawsonite-jadeite facies is uncertain, but they nevertheless

justify placing the series in a pressure level at least as high as that of the high-pressure intermediate series (MIYASHIRO,1961). Epidote-amphibole-chlorite-albite schists, derived both from basic vol- eanics and calcareous shales are present but not abundant. Iron-rich quartzites, apparently derived form ferruginous cherts, are also found at one locality (Nahuelbuta Range).

Northern Chile. -- North of 84 ~ S, rocks that

can be attributed

to the greenschist facies of the Curepto-type metamorphism occur in several areas (Fig. 1).

At Mincha (81085 ' S; 71085 ' W), according to C.I:~OESCHMANN (written communication, 1969) the metamorphic basement consists mainly

of phyllites, quartz-phyllites and quartz-micaschists, with lesser amounts of

epidote-actinolite schists. The most common assemblages are: quartz- muscovite-chlorite-albite, in parts containing manganese-rich garnet. Biotite

is also present in places, but only in the neighborhood of a granitic pluton

(Atelcura) and is attributed by ROESCHMANNto contact effects. The rock types and assemblages in this area are very similar to those of Zone III


Curepto series in the Coast Range of Central Chile.

The coastal range west of the

To n g o y basin (80~ 20' S; 71 ~ 40' W)


formed by metamorphic rocks consisting (at Punta Lengua de Vaca)

mostly of low-grade amphibole schists, containing actinolite and chlorite.

Higher-grade rocks are found farther south in this area. At L o s C h o r o s (29 ~ 10' S; 71 ~ 80' W) quartz-chlorite-muscovite- biotite-albite-garnet schists are also the predominant rock type; they are associated with epidote-amphibole-albite greenschists. The metamorphic area of Rio Tr~insito (28 ~ 50' S; 70~ 15' W), located on the western slope of the Andes, presents quartz-muscovite-

chlorite-albite-epidote schists; there are also layers of greenschists (epidote- albite-amphibole-chlorite, with some calcite). Rock types and assemblages are very much alike those of Zone III of the Cttrepto series. Higher-grade rocks are found on the eastern part of the area.


made up mainly of metamorphics consisting of micaschists with quartz, chlorite (in parts interlayered with biotite), epidote, albite, calcite, and quartz, biotite, muscovite, albite and garnet (AGuIRItE, 1965). A small (5 km2) exposure of metamorphic rocks is present near C h i s-

m i s a (19 ~ 40' S; 69~ 15' W; P. KENTS, oral communication, 1965); they

are schists containing quartz-muscovite-chlorite, which in all probability

belong to the greenschist facies (AcuIRSE, 1965).

The northernmost metamorphic exposures of Chile are those of the

B e 16 n - T i g n a m a r area (18~ 80' S; 69 ~ 80' W) which consist of quartz-

museovite-biofite-orthoclase (-calcite) schists (MONTECINOS,1968). Also pre-




(28000'--28080 , S;

70o85 , W)


F. GONZ•LEZ-BoNoRINOu. a. -- Metamorphic facies of the crystalline basement

sent are hornblende-plagioclase-quartz (-epidote-chlorite) amphibolites,

which may represent either a higher metamorphic grade or an incompletely metamorphosed basic rock.

continues south

S o u t h e r n C h i 1e. -- Zone III of the Curepto series

of Puerto Montt (41 ~ 80' S) into G h il o 6 I s 1a n d, where it is re- presented by quartz-mica- and actinolite schists (AcumRE, 1965). Recent-

ly, SALIOT (1968) has described quartz-micaschists containing lawsonite. The most common lawsonite-bearing assemblage is quartz-chlorite-musco-

vite-albite + epidote

blages contain quartz-muscovite-chlorite-albite


Opposite to Chile6 Island, on the east side of the Ancud Gulf, the

metamorphic basement is exposed along the coast (42~ 55' S; 72 ~ 50'

Here the rocks are quartz-mica schists containing quartz, muscovite, bio- tite and albite, with chlorite and garnet in places (LEvi et al., 1966). These rocks apparently pertain to Zone II (Biotite zone) of the Curepto series, in parts showing transitions to Zone I. Farther south, between 44 ~ and 45 ~ S, there is a large area of metamor- phic rocks comprising Los Chonos Archipelago to the west and Magda- lena Island and adjacent continental land to the east (Fig. 1). The pre- dominant rock types in Los Chonos Archipelago (which represent, together with Chile6 Island, the southern extension of the Coast Range) are

tremolite. Lawsonite-free assem-






phyllites, slates and chlorite schists; very little is known about the mineral assemblages of the area. Better studied is the area of Taitao Peninsula

(46~ ' S; 74--75 ~ W) where

the metamorphic basement consists of

foliated micaceous quartzites and quartz-micaschists on the west part, and metasandstones on the east part. It is likely that these rocks represent Zones II and I, respectively, of the Curepto series of Central Chile. The metamorphic area of the continental side opposite Los Chonos, north of Ays6n (Magdalena I., Rio Cisnes; 44 ~ 50' S; 78~ 00' W) consists mostly of semipelitic slates and phyllites (Ruzz, 1946) and belong to the greenschist facies, but higher-grade rocks are also found in the east. In the vicinity of Lake General Carrera, Ruiz (1946, 1965) and HEIM (1940) found slates and phyllites with thick marble beds. In places, carbonate- bearing schists contain andalusite, garnet and vesuvianite; aplitic injection is locally abundant. The metamorphic grade lies mostly within the green- schist facies but magmatic bodies have locally produced higher tempera- ture effects. Low-grade pelitic and semipelitic rocks seem to be the most widespread constituents of the metamorphic complex at this latitude. Recently, F. HERV~ (written communication, 1969) found in rocks of the area of P t o. S dtn c h e z on Lake General Carrera, the following assem- blages: pelitie, quartz-albite-muscovite-chlorite + calcite phyllites; basic, quartz-albite-muscovite-epidote-chlorite _+ actinolite + stilpnomelane calcite schists; carbonate rocks, calcite-quartz-albite. These rocks apparent- ly also belong to Zone III; biotite is present in the phyllites but only in the vicinity of granodiorite stocks.

The metamorphic complex forms a practically continuous and mono-



tonous belt from Lake General Carrera to the island of Tierra del Fuego,

separating the Mesozoic geosynclinal deposits on the east and northeast, from the Paleozoie (.9) and Mesozoic batholithic rocks on the west and southwest. At Lake O'Higgins (48~ 45' S) slates and quartzites seem to

rock types (SERRANO& MO~AOA in JotrBIN & VELT-

HEIM, 1968); slates and metasandstones are also reported from Lake O'Higgins by a recent University of Hokkaido and Hiroshima expedition

(T. NISmMUR&written communication, 1969). Similarly, quartz-micaschists and phyllites have been found in the

metamorphic belt about latitude 52~00' S by the University of Hokkaido-

Hiroshima expedition (H. YOSH1DA, oral communication, 1969),

of their mineralogy are not yet published. The metamorphies of the crystalline basement of Tierra del Fuego and Magellan Strait, between 58 ~ 40' S~ 72 ~ 00' W, and 54 ~ 40' S, 68 ~ 00' W have been studied mainly by KRANK(198'2). He found low-grade quartz- mieaschists and mieaeeous quartzites with local transition to higher grades in the vicinity of granitic plutons. Typical assemblages are quartz-museo- vite-chlorite-albite + biotite +_ epidote +_ garnet in pelitie types, and chlorite-epidote-albite-quartz and chlorite-amphibole-epidote-albite in the more basic types. KRANK(1982) mentions also the presence of glaueophane 1) in quartz-sericite-biotite-chlorite-garnet schists of Pliischow Bay, Martinez Fiord. In the same general area (54 ~ 80' S, 70 ~ 15' W), samples collected by the Japanese expedition headed by Prof. H. YOSmDAyielded the follow- ing assemblages: quartz-biotite-chlorite-muscovite-albite _+ garnet; biotite- epidote-albite-garnet +_ muscovite, and aetinolite albite-biotite-epidote.

be the predominant

but details

Intermediate- to low-pressure (Pichilemu) series

The Piehilemu series lies in the north end of the continuous schist belt of Central Chile, between 84~ 10" and 84~ 85' S (Fig. 2). It has the characteristics of the Buchan type of metamorphism, and differs from the Curepto series by its wider range of metamorphic grade, (seven zones and subzones) and by the fact that the grade increases eastwards, i.e. the opposite of the Curepto series. The trend of the zones is between NNW and NW. The two series merge into each other near Buealemu without apparent structural break. G r e e n s c h i s t f a e i e s. The greenschist facies is represented by the westernmost zone, divided in two subzones: a quartz-muscovite-biotite- chlorite (-albite) western subz0ne, and a chlorite-free eastern subzone; the town of Pichilemu lies approximately between them (Fig. 2). The reeks are slates and metasandstones in the lower-grade subzone and quartz- phyllites in the higher-grade subzone. Roughly interposed between the two subzones there is a greenstone formation consisting of amphibole-epi- dote-ehlorite-albite-schist layers intercalated in the semipelitic slates and phyllites.

1) However, a recent visit to the same locality by E. GoDou (personal communica- tion, 1970) failed to confirm this occurrence.


tv. GONZ~LEZ-]3ONORINOU. a. -- Metamorphic facies of the crystalline basement

A m p h i b o 1i t e f a c i e s. The amphibolite facies is represented by

the three next metamorphic zones, characterized repectively by garnet-

oligoclase, andalusite-staurolite, and sillimanite-muscovite. The albite- oligoclase isograd is taken as the boundary between this and the green- schist facies. The rocks in the above-mentioned zones are quartz-mica- schists and micaceous quartzites; the andalusite-staurolite zone is charac- terized by large chiastolite porphyroblasts, The assemblages are respectiv- ely quartz-muscovite-biotite-oligoclase-garnet, quartz-muscovite-biotite-


garnet), and quartz-muscovite-biotite-

sillimanite. In the middle zone, andalusite and staurolite often occur in

separate layers. The garnet is almandine.


To the same facies and a similar low-pressure intermediate series may belong the schists found by Rulz (1946) east from Puerto Cisnes (44~80' S). They consist of mieaschists containing quartz-muscovite-biotite-staurolite- andalusite-garnet, associated to amphibolite schists, all partly injected by granite. In samples from the same locality, E. GODOY(oral communication, 1969) found ehloritoid, in addition to the above assemblage.

muscovite-quartz into silli-

manite-olthoclase is interpreted here as marking the transition to the granulite facies. The sillimanite-orthoelase zone represents the higher metamorphic grade of the series and lies adjacent to the granodiorite batholith, but the intrusive contact cuts obliquely the zones (Fig. 2). Two subzones are distinguished: one is characterized by the assemblage quartz-biotite-sillimanite-plagioelase-orthoelase, and the other -- next to the batholith -- by quartz-biotite-sillimanite-plagioelase-orthoelase-cordie- rite-almandine. The rocks are mieaschists and quartz-mieasehists with gneissie phases near the contact where granitic veining is widespread. To the same series and facies probably belong the charnockitie rocks found by F. HERVi (written communication, 1969) in the vicinity of Laguna Verde, a few kilometers south of Valparaiso. These rocks are associated with a layered mass of amphibolite gneisses, in parts intruded conformably and somewhat migmatized by granitic rocks. The assemblage in the charnockite is quartz-plagioclase-orthoelase-elinopyroxene-orthopyro- xene (-biotite); and, in the associated rocks: quartz-plagioetase-htrrnblende- biotite + K-feldspar; quartz-plagioelase-K-feldspar-biotite _+ muscovite; quartz-plagioclase-biotite-almandine; plagioelase-sillimanite-cordierite-bio- tire + muscovite; quartz-K-feldspar-biotite-cordierite-almandine. F. HERVE (written communication, 1969) places these assemblages in the biotite- cordierite-almandine subfacies of the granulite facies.

G r a n u 1i t e

f a e i e s. The breakdown


Low-pressure (Nirivilo) series

General Statement

A relatively low-pressure, posteetonic

series --



series --

is found adjacent to the batholith. It is best developed upon low-grade regionally metamorphosed rocks and is characterized mainly by the partial obliteration of the cleavage planes and by the presence of large andalusite

63 Ceologisehe Rundschau,

Bd. 59



porphyroblasts. The aureole may be as wide as 15 km (Nahuelbuta Range), a fact possibly reflecting a relatively deep level of formation. Due to the narrowness of the metamorphie zones and the inherent difficulties for distinguishing the areal distribution of the different fades, in the following deseription the aureole will be taken as a whole.

Central Chile

The Nirivilo series in the Central Coast Range is exposed between the Curepto series and the batholith (Fig. 2). There, the metamorphic facies range from albite-epidote-hornfels on the west to pyroxene-hornfels on the batholith side. In narrower parts of the aureole the highest grade may not reach above that of the albite-epidote-homfels facies. In the areas of maximum width, such as Nahuelbuta Range (87 ~ 45' S) and Maule River (85~80' S), the following series of assemblages, distri- buted as narrow zones roughly paralleling the batholith contact (not so the satellite bodies) is present in the aureole. At its outer fringe, there are slightly hornfelsie slates and metasandstones having the assemblage quartz-biotite-muscovite-chlorite (-albite). The newly-formed biotite and chlorite first appear, as one el~ters the aureole from the west, as nodular aggregates and metacrysts; some small andalusite may occur a little farther east. This rock represents the epidote-albite-hornfels facies. The next zone is characterized by the predominance of biotite and the presence of large ehiastolite porphyroblasts. The politic assemblage is quartz- biotite-muscovite-andalusite-oligoclase, and probably represents the horn- blende-hornfels facies (the oligoclase isograd is taken tentatively as the facies boundary). The pyroxene-hornfels facies, which is present only at the widest parts of the aureole, is represented by the assemblage quartz- biotite-sillimanite-orthoclase-plagioelase-cordierite; the rocks are medium- grained banded or, in parts, massive schists. Pervasive granitic and quartz veining is common near the contact.

Other areas

Outside the aureole of the Coast Range in Central Chile, no references to contact metamorphosed areas which may represent a Nirivilo-type series have been recorded. However, contact effects, apparently localized, have been mentioned from a few places, although the age of the intrusives is not always established. Thus, Rt~lz (1946) described carbonate-bearing phyllites associated with marble beds, which contain biotite-andalusite- garnet-vesuviante-tourmaline~magnetite, near t~uerto Cristal on the north shore of Lake General Carrera. The presence of relatively high-grade rocks in an otherwise low-grade environment (see above) may be attribut- ed to local granitic injection (Rmz, 1946).


The age of the metamorphic basement rocks of Central Chile is known mainly from the work by MUNIZAGA(1967). He has given Rb/Sr data for nine samples of schists collected between Pichilemu and Valdivia, all


F. GONZ~LEz-BoNoRINOU. a. -- Metamorphic facies of the crystalline basement

of which fit very well the isochron of 849, • 5 m.y. A K/Ar analysis, also by MVNIZACA (1967) gave 245 m.y. All but one of these samples belong to the Curepto series; the exception is one from the Nirivilo series (MuNIZAG& 1967, sample N~ V-4). A whole reek K/Ar age analysis of a rock from the Pichilemu series has been made at the Arctic Geological Institute of Leningrad, U.R.S.S. (GoNzs 1967), obtaining 210 m.y. A K/Ar value of 288 m.y. for a schist from 20 km SSW of Con- stituei6n, has been reported by FaANCrSCOMVNIZACA(oral communication, 1969, analysis performed at the Laboratorio de Geoeronologia of the University of S~o Paulo, Brazil). These data would indicate an Early Carboniferous age for the deposi- tion of the schists and Permian for their metmnorphism; the latter roughly coincides with the emplacement of the batholith. The somewhat younger age of the Pichilemu-series rock ~igrees with the hypothesis of a later formation of this series, but the data are not conclusive.


No systematic studies on the structural geology of the crystalline base- ment of Chile have yet been published. The scanty information found in the literature is based on scattered observations, most of which are of little value because of the variable attitude of the S-planes even within individual outcrops. More systematic data, yet unpublished, has been gathered by MAAs and I~OESCHMANN(RoEsCHMANN,written communication, 1969), GONZJ,LEz-BoNoRINO (1970) and T. NISnIMURA (written communi- cation, 1969). In the Coast Range of Central Chile (GONZ~LEz-BoNoRINO,1970), the structure of the least metamorphosed reeks (e.g., Gurepto series, Zone I) is characterized by small-scale folding with axial planes dipping pre- dominantly to the east. Bedding is well preserved but true axial-plane cleavage is present even in metasandstones. In Zone II, bedding is partly obliterated by the schistosity, and in Zone III it is detected only at scattered places. The schistosity trends NNE on the Curepto and Nirivilo series, and between NNW and NW in the Piehilemu series; its direetion of dip, although very variable, is predominantly to the east. Typical of Curepto Zone III is a flat-lying, wavy sehistosify, the origin of which re- presents a rather puzzling problem. The overall bedding structure of the Piehilemu series is interpreted as a NW- or WNW-dipping monoeline, although in the eastern, more metamorphic zones, it is impossible to reconstruct the strueture. Similarly, in the Gurepto series the overall dip of bedding may be to the west. The attitude of the schistosity, fold axes, and lineation in the schists of Fiord Martinez in Tierra del Fuego was recently studied by the Uni- versity of Hokkaido expedition (T. NISmMVnA, written communication, 1969). The trend of the schistosity planes is consistently northwestward, and the predominant dip is between 9~0~ and 40~ to the southwest.



Igneous rocks

The igneous constituent of the Chilean crystalline basement is re- presented mostly by granitic rocks in the form of batholiths and satellite plutons, Basic and ultrabasic rocks are present as scanty, small dikes or lense-like bodies emplaeed in the metamorphic basement. Wherever the granitic masses are exposed together with the Paleozoic metamorphic basement, they show intrusive contacts; no older granite has ever been reported. The Paleozoie age of the basement granites has been in part established by radiometrie measurements, in part deduced from their stratigraphie relationships. The largest mass of basement granites is exposed in the Coast Range of Central Chile (Fig. 1); it extends continuously from 88 ~ 00' to 88 ~ 00' S. In Northern Chile, there are smaller batholith areas scattered along the western foothills of the Andes, although some coastal masses are also ex- posed, particularly between Taltal and Chafiaral (26~ 0O' S). In Southern Chile there are no known basement granites, there being instead a huge batholith belt of Cretaceous age (the "Andean batholith") exposed along

the western border of the continent all the way down to Tierra del Fuego. [t is very likely that part of this granitic mass really belongs to the crystalline basement, particularly in the area south of 46~ S where, by their most part, granites appear associated exclusively to the Paleozoie metamorphics. The Paleozoic age of the granitic masses has been determined by lead- alpha method for the following localities (RuIz et al., 1961; LEvi et al.,

Coastal granites: Taltal-Chafiaral (26~ 00' S),

two determinations, '280 +_ 50 and 840 + 40 m.y.; Caldera (27 ~ 00" S), 226 +_ 25 m.y.; Pen. Lengua de Vaca (80020 ' S), 219 +_ m.y.; Quintero (82 ~ 50' S), 288 _+ 25 m.y. Coastal batholith between Valparadso and Traigu6n (88 ~ 00' to 88 ~ 00' S), 25 determinations ranging from 224 _+ 25 to 450 _+ 45 m.y. Andean granites: Chuquicamata (22 ~ 17' S), two de- terminations, 288 and 858 m.y.; Calama (22~ 40' S), 260 m.y.; Potrerillos (26~ 80' S), 248 • 25 m.y.; Juntas (28~ 00' S), 265 + 80 m.y.; Rivadavia (80 ~ 00' S), three determinations, 806 +_ 80 to 878 +_ 40 m.y. The petrographic characteristics of the Paleozoic granites and their distinction from the Mesozoic granites have been studied mainly by

1968; Ruiz, 1965, p. 81--88):


CRISTI (1960, 1964), LEVX et al. (1968), and MEHECH


(1964). However, the petrographic analyses have been made on isolated

samples or small areas and no systematic petrologic studies of the plutons are available.

The crystalline basement on the eastern slope of the Andes

The Argentine counterpart of the crystalline basement of Central Chile is a narrow belt of tow-grade metamorphies that extends approximately from 28 ~ to 84 ~ S, following 69 ~ W. This little known metamorphic belt consists of metasandstones, slates and phyllites with serpentines bodies, and is geologically part of the Preeordillera, a morphostructural unit that


F. GONZ~LEZ-BoNoRINOu. a. --- Metamorphic facies of the crystalline basement

in Central Argentine is interposed between the Andean Cordillera and the Preeambrian Sierras Pampeanas. South of 88 ~ S, however, the belt verges slightly to the west and, as the Preeordillera disappears beneath younger formations, it enters the "Cordillera Frontal", the easternmost morpho- structural unit of the Andean Cordillera. This belt includes a series of exposures which in the Argentine geological literature are described under various formational names (Bonilla, Yerba Loea, etc.); the correlation between these "formations" and the metamorphic belt has not generally been recognized. The belt is best exposed in the area north of Jagfie (28o00 ' S; 68~ ' W), where it encloses relatively large serpentinite pultons.

J. FEar,ARO, of

K/Ar radiometric age data


been furnished



the Instituto Nacional de Geologla y Mineria of Buenos Aires, Argen- tina, who analyzed (at the Geochronology Laboratory of the University of Sgo Paulo, Brazil) rock samples collected in part by Dr. J. POLANSKI, in part by one of the present authors (F.G.B.). The data are, the following:

Preeordillera: (1) Rio San Juan, km 128:365 m.y. (slate, whole ro& analysis); (2) Quebrada Sta Elena, Uspallata: 403 m.y. (phyllite, whole

rock). Cordillera Frontal: Rio de las Tunas, Corddn del Portillo: 251 m.y. (muscovite from micasehist); Arroyo Barraquero, Cord6n del PortiIlo: 263 m.y. (biotite from micaschist). The spread of age data is similar to that of the Chilean metamorphic basement. In the Cordillera Frontal, Upper Paleozoic granitic plutons are also intruded into the metamorphies (age values, two samples from the same source: 281 m.y. and 251 m.y.). East of the Preeordillera are the Sierras Pampeanas, a series of block mountains constituted by low-, medium- and high-grade metamorphies and by granitic batholiths. These rocks seem to be older than the previous belt; one K/Ar analysis of a biotite from a micasehist collected from Cerro Valdivia, just east of the eastern border of the Precordillera a few kilometers south of the city of San Juan, yielded a value of 591 m.y.

(J. FER~ARO, written communication, 1966). Similar ages have been record-

ed for rocks from the Central Sierras Pampeanas. Still farther east, in the

Province of Buenos Aires, the crystalline basement has yielded much higher values.

Summary and conclusions

The crystalline basement of Chile is exposed in a narrow belt lying mostly along the western side of the country. The coastal belt is con- tinuous from about the latitude of Valparaiso to Tierra del Fuego, and markedly discontinuous to the north, where the basement also appears in a series of outcrops along the foothills of the Andes, east of the Longi- tudinal Valley. A low-grade, greenschist facies prevails in most of the metamorphic belt; the remarkably monotonous lithology is characterized by slates and metasandstones in the lowest-grade areas, and by mieasehists and mica- eeous quartzites in the higher grade areas. According to radiometric



data, the metamorphies have been deposited during the early Late Paleo- zoie; no Precambrian crystalline basement is known in Chile. The igneous constituents of the basement are represented principally by a granodiorite batholith that intrudes -- and is exposed mostly on the east side of -- the schist belt in the Coast Range of Central Chile. The batholith was emplaeed at the end of the Late Paleozoie. Extensive masses of granitic rocks are intruded in the metamorphic belt in the insular region of Southern Chile; these rocks are generally considered as part of the Cretaceous "Andean Batholith", but it is likely that some of them belong to the Paleozoic batholith. In a study of metamorphic zoning in the Coast Range of Central Chile, three different zonal arrangements have been found, each representing a particular pressure environment. The most widespread of these arrange- ments, the Curepto series, not only predominates in Central Chile but apparently in Northern and Southern Chile as well. The Gurepto series consists of three mineral zones rising in grade to the west, all within the greenschist facies. East of the Curepto series, interposed between this and the batholith, is the Nirivilo series, which has the character of a wide thermal aureole. The Pichilemu series occupies a relatively small area in the north end of the metamorphic belt of Central Chile, and is the best developed of the three in number of zones and range of metamorphic grade (greenschist to granulite facies). The pressure conditions of the three series are medium-high (Curepto), medium-low (Pichilemu), and low (Nirivilo) respectively. In the Curepto series, metamorphic conditions approached those of a glaneophane facies; the Pichilemu series is a Buchan-type series, and the Nirivilo series is a hornfels-type series. The three series were formed suceessively in the order just given; periods of deformation, uplift and erosional unloading must have intervened between them. The whole process was probably in essence continuous and closely related to the advance of the batholithic masses from below. The Curepto series was formed prior to this advance, the Pichilemu series coincided with it (late-tectonic stage) and the Nirivilo series formed during its emplacement (posteetonic stage). If it is assumed that the Pichilemu series, before it was encroached by the batholith, extended more or less southwards along the eastern side of the Curepto series (Fig. 2), the two series constitute a paired belt having the general characteristics postulated by MIYASHIltOfor the Cireum- pacific orogenic belts (MIYASHmO,1961). The internal structural lines of the metamorphic basement are roughly parallel to the external structure and to the structure of the Andean geosynclinal deposits; this parallelism is well displayed at the bend of the Andes in the Magellanian region, where the strike of the sehistosity is approximately tangent to the arc. Local departures from such parallelism are very. common. It is evident that the pattern of the tectonic forces active during the Late Paleozoie remained virtually unchanged throughout the Andean orogenesis. The coastal basement belt was not actively in- volved in the Cenozoic movements; instead, it behaved as a relatively


F. GONZ,~LEz-BoNoIUNOU. a. -- Metamorphic facies of the crystalline basement

stable block; the eastward pressure that produced the flexuring and up- trusting in the Andes (GoNz,I.LEz-BONORINO, 1950) was probably exerted through and by the basement lying almost directly underneath the Andean Cordillera. The relative youth of the Chilean crystalline basement is consistent with the general age distribution of crystalline belts in South America at this latitude. According to recent radiometrie data, at least three belts are distinguished: 1. A Rio de la Plata belt, comprising basement areas of Uruguay and the Province of Buenos Aires, where ages of about 1,700 m.y. have been determined; 2. a Sierras Pampeanas belt in north-central Argentine, characterized by ages around 500 m.y.; and 3. a Cordilleran belt, including areas on both sides of the Andes, with ages between 300 and 200 m.y. The belts run essentially north-south but as they reach Patagonia they swing to the Southeast.


AGUIRI~E, L.: Basamento Cristalino Prec~mbrico, 6--18, in Rmz, C.: Geo]ogia

305 p., Santiago, Chile, Inst. Invest.

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Abh., 111, 80~110, Stuttgart 1960.

JOUBIN, F., (~ VELTHEIM, V.: Aisen mineral exploration project, Chile. -- U.N. Teda. Ass. Oper.-Inst. Invest. Geol., unpublished report, Santiago 1963. KATZ, H.R.: Nuevos antecedentes sobre la Geologia de Ays~n. -- Minerales, 78, 20--33, Santiago, Chile, 1962. KI~ANK,H.: Geological investigations in the Cordillera of Tierra del Fuego. -- Acta Geogr., 4, 2, 231 p., Helsinki, 1932. LEVI, B., AGUILAR, A., & FUENZALIDA,R.: Reconocimiento geolrgico en las provincias de Llanquihue y Chilo~. -- Bol. Inst. Invest. Geol., 19, 45 p., Santiago, Chile, 1966.


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Burial metamorphic episodes in the Andean geosyneline, Central Chile

By BEATRIZLEVI,Santiago de Chile *)

With 4 figures and 6 tables


Die Auswirkungen der Versenkungsmetamorphose auf die Ablagerungen der andinen Geosynklinale in Mittel-Chile wurden untersueht. Die betrachteten stratigraphisehen Einheiten, unterer Jura bis obere Kreide und/oder unteres Tertfiir, haben eine kumulative M~iehtigkeit von 15000 bis 28000 m; sic be- deeken ein Gebiet von fast 2500km 2 und bestehen in der Hauptsaehe aus basischen und sauren Laven, Ignimbriten und vulkanoklastisdaen Sedimenten, die unter marinen und kontinentalen Bedingungen abgelagert wurden. Diskor-

*) Address



B. LEVl,






Chile, Casilla 18 518, Gorreo 15, Santiago, Chile.