Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Roquer T., Arancibia G., Rowland J., Iturrieta P., Morata D. and Cembrano J. (2017)

Fault-controlled development of shallow hydrothermal systems: Structural and mineralogical insights from the Southern Andes

Revista : Geothermics
Volumen : 66
Número : 1
Páginas : 156-173
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Paleofluid-transporting systems can be recognized as meshes of fracture-filled veins in eroded zones of extinct hydrothermal systems. Here we combined meso-microstructural analysis of 107 fractures and mechanical modeling from two exhumed exposures of the faults governing regional tectonics of the Southern Andes: the Liquiñe-Ofqui Fault System (LOFS) and the Andean Transverse Faults (ATF). The ATF specific segment shows two tectonic solutions that can be modeled as Andersonian and non-Andersonian tectonic regimes: (1) shear (mode II/III) failure occurs at differential stresses > 28 MPa and fluid pressures < 40–80% lithostatic in the Andersonian regime; and (2) sporadic hybrid extensional + shear (modes I + II/III) failure occurs at differential stresses < 20 MPa and anomalously high fluid pressures > 85–98% lithostatic in the non-Andersonian regime. Additionally, the LOFS exposure cyclically fails in extension (mode I) or extension + shear (modes I + II/III) in the Andersonian regime, at differential stresses < 30 MPa and fluid pressures > 40–80% lithostatic. In areas of spatial interaction between ATF and LOFS, these conditions might favor: (1) the storage of overpressured fluids in hydrothermal systems associated with the ATF faults, and (2) continuous fluid flow through vertical conduits in the LOFS faults. These observations suggest that such intersections are highly probable places for concentrated hydrothermal activity, which must be taken into consideration for further geothermal exploration. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd