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Chapter 30 30

Morphotectonic and Geologic Digital Map Compilations

of the South-Central Andes (3642S)
Daniel Melnick Helmut P. Echtler

described by naturalists like Charles Darwin and Ignacy

30.1 Introduction
Domeyko (Darwin 1839; Domeyko 1846). Their tectonic
significance was further developed among
The need of the multidisciplinary SFB-267 project of in- others by Brggen (1950), Plafker and Savage (1970),
tegrated, large-scale tectonic and geologic base informa- Gansser (1973), Jordan et al. (1983), Mpodozis and Ra-
tion for the specific and localized subprojects led to pro- mos (1989). The off-shore structure of the margin and
duce the two map compilations presented here. Both maps shelf basins has been integrated from hydrocarbon
have been conceived at about 1 : 4 000 000 scale and cover exploration studies made by Empresa Nacional del
the region from 36 to 42 S, between the Pacific Ocean Petrleo (ENAP), the Chilean state oil company (Mordo-
and 67 W in the Argentine pampas (Figs. 30.1 and 30.2). jovich 1981; Gonzlez 1989), interpretation of ENAP
The first map includes the main morphotectonic units seismic reflection profiles and boreholes (Melnick and
and Cenozoic fault zones as well as major tectonic ele- Echtler 2006) and SPOC multibeam bathymetry (Reichert
ments. Off-shore shelf basins and limits of the continen- et al. 2002). The second map integrates the main re-
tal slope and trench plain (Fig. 30.1) are also integrated. gional-scale stratigraphic, intrusive, and metamorphic
These morphotectonic units can be considered as the units (Fig. 30.2) comprised within each margin-scale
continental-scale subdivisions of the Andean margin, first morphotectonic province.

Fig. 30.1. Morphotectonic units and major faults of the south-Central Andes
566 Daniel Melnick Helmut P. Echtler

Fig. 30.2. Geologic map compilation of the south-Central Andes

field observations, interpretation of the digital elevation

30.2 Methods and Data Sources
model and locally remote sensing data, and published
data. Table 30.1 includes area and mean and maximum
The morphotectonic units were mapped using the NASA- elevations of the morphotectonic units.
SRTM digital elevation model, which has a ground reso- The geologic compilation is based on the available maps
lution of 3 arc sec (Slater et al. 2006). The main criteria of the Chilean and Argentinean Geological Surveys pur-
used to define the map units were morphology, topo- chased in digital versions at 1 : 1000000 and 1 : 2500000
graphic gradients, geological evolution, and structural scale, respectively (SERNAGEOMIN 1982, 2003; SEGEMAR
boundaries. The precise limit of each unit is based on own 1995). Both maps were simplified by merging units based
Chapter 30 Morphotectonic and Geologic Digital Map Compilations of the South-Central Andes (3642S) 567

on chronostratigraphic as well as tectonic considerations;

for example, the late Cretaceous to Pliocene sedimentary infill
of the Andean fore-arc basins was grouped into Marine and
continental fore-arc basins; Jurassic to Miocene intrusive
rocks of the Main Cordillera were integrated into North
Patagonian Batholith magmatic arc root (e.g., Herv 1994).
The structural information supplied by both geologi-
cal surveys has been actualized by studies developed in
the frame of the SFB-267, its local partner universities
and institutions, and other parallel research groups in the
Andes (e.g., Herv 1988, 1994; Lavenu and Cembrano 1999;
Muoz et al. 2000; Jordan et al. 2001; Radic et al. 2002;
Melnick et al. 2002, 2003, 2006ac; Rosenau 2004; Folguera
et al. 2004; Glodny et al. 2005; Ramos and Folguera 2005;
Zapata and Folguera 2005; Rosenau et al. 2006). The ma-
jor fault zones have been revised, updated and mapped
using the SRTM digital elevation model. The legend of
the geologic map has been organized in order to show
the tectonic position of each unit as well as its time span
(Fig. 30.3). This facilitates i.e., visualizing shifts in the lo-
cus of magmatic activity, sediment transport and distri-
bution, and basin development. Table 30.2 integrates sim-
plified descriptions and age ranges of each unit. All the
GIS tables are available in the accompanying DVD in geo-
detic projection and WGS 1984 datum.


This work benefits from discussions with the SFB-267 com-

munity and Berlin-Potsdam geosciences groups as well as
Fig. 30.3. Space-time diagram of the geologic units colleagues from Chilean and Argentinean institutions.
568 Daniel Melnick Helmut P. Echtler

Melnick D, Bookhagen B, Echtler H, Strecker M (2006a) Coastal de-

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