Geometry of the inverted Cretaceous Chañarcillo Basin based on 2-D gravity and field data – an approach to the structure of the western Central Andes of northern Chile
Abstract. This paper discusses an integrated approach that provides new ideas about the structural geometry of the NNE-striking, Cretaceous Chañarcillo Basin located along the eastern Coastal Cordillera in the western Central Andes of northern Chile (27–28° S). The results obtained from the integration of two transverse (E–W) gravity profiles with previous geological information show that the architecture of this basin is defined by a large NNE–SSE-trending and east-vergent anticline ("Tierra Amarilla Anticlinorium"), which is related to the positive reactivation of a former Cretaceous normal fault (Elisa de Bordos Master Fault). Moreover, intercalations of high and low gravity anomalies and steep gravity gradients reveal a set of buried, west-tilted half-grabens associated with a synthetic normal fault pattern. These results, together with the uplift and folding style of the Cretaceous synextensional deposits recognized within the basin, suggest that its structure could be explained by an inverted fault system linked to the shortening of pre-existing Cretaceous normal fault systems. Ages of the synorogenic deposits exposed unconformably over the frontal limb of the Tierra Amarilla Anticlinorium confirm a Late Cretaceous age for the Andean deformation and tectonic inversion of the basin.