EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Lithospheric density structure of the Southern Central Andes and their forelands constrained by 3D gravity modelling

Constanza Rodriguez Piceda1,2, Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth2,3, Maria Laura Gómez Dacal2, Judith Bott2, Claudia Prezzi4, and Manfred Strecker1
Constanza Rodriguez Piceda et al.
  • 1University of Potsdam, Institute of Geosciences, Germany
  • 2GFZ - German Research Centre for Geosciences Potsdam, Germany
  • 3RWTH Aachen, Germany
  • 4CONICET, Universidad de Buenos Aires. IGEBA, Dpto. de Cs. Geológicas, FCEyN, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Andean orogeny is a ~7000 km long N-S trending mountain range developed along the South American western margin. The formation of this mountain range is driven by the subduction of the oceanic Nazca plate beneath the continental South American plate, being the only known present-day case of subduction-type orogeny. In this tectonic setting, the intrinsic physical properties of the overriding plate govern the formation of zones of crustal strength and weakness and control the localization and the style of deformation. Furthermore, the dynamics of the subducting oceanic lithosphere is strongly conditioned by the properties of the continental counterpart. The southern segment of the Central Andes (29°S-39°S) is a suitable scenario to investigate the relationship between the two plates for several reasons. It is characterized by a complex deformation pattern with variations in horizontal shortening, crustal thickening and mean topographic elevation. In addition, the subduction angle changes at 33°S-35°S latitude from flat in the North to normal in the South. To gain insight into this geodynamic system, a detailed characterization of the lithosphere is needed. Therefore, we constructed a 3D model of the entire segment of the Southern Central Andes that is consistent with the available geological, seismic and gravity data in order to assess the geometry and density variation within the lithosphere. The derived configuration shows a spatial correlation between density domains and known tectonic features. It is also consistent with other independent observations such as S wave velocity variation and surface deformation. The generated structural model allows us to reach the first conclusions about the relationship between the characteristics of the overriding plate and the crustal deformation and dynamics of the subduction system. It is also useful to constrain thermomechanical experiments and therefore contributes to discussions about the crustal thermal and rheological fields within the region.

How to cite: Rodriguez Piceda, C., Scheck-Wenderoth, M., Gómez Dacal, M. L., Bott, J., Prezzi, C., and Strecker, M.: Lithospheric density structure of the Southern Central Andes and their forelands constrained by 3D gravity modelling, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-3313,, 2020.


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