Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Sanhueza J., Yáñez G., Barra F., Maringue J., Figueroa R., Sáez E. (2022)

Rheological, petrophysical and geometrical constraints of a subduction channel from a numerical model perspective: Insights from La Cabaña Paleozoic peridotites, Coastal Cordillera of south-central Chile

Revista : Journal of South American Earth Sciences
Volumen : 114
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The emplacement of ultramafic blocks in accretionary complexes poses a geodynamic problem due to their negative buoyancy. In this study, we explore plausible emplacement scenarios for peridotite bodies in the Coastal Cordillera of south-central Chile by combining geophysical observations, numerical modeling and available petrological data for ultramafic blocks exhumed along the subduction channel. The La Cabaña massif is the largest serpentinized peridotite complex yet recognized in the Coastal Cordillera, however, its size and petrophysical characteristics remain unknown. The geophysical measurements were performed to determine the size of this body, involving magnetic airborne surveys and electrical resistivity tomography. Inversion data show that the largest ultramafic block in La Cabaña is 3 km long, 1.5 km wide and at least 1.2 km deep. This result constrains the characteristics of the block transported by the subduction channel. In the second step, we developed a numerical model for the subduction channel assuming a viscous rheology. In this modeling effort we search for tectonic scenarios that provide adequate conditions for the exhumation of the ultramafic body in La Cabaña. These scenarios included a combination of key parameters, subduction angle dip and velocity, subduction channel geometry, rheology and density contrast. Scenarios compatible with the exhumation of La Cabaña body type includes channel viscosity range of 1019?20 Pa s, fast exhumation rates at mantle depths (10–20 mm/yr; >30–40 km), steep subduction angles (30°–60°), subduction channel widths of 3–5 km, density contrast between ?200 and ?400 kg/m3 and a body diameter of 1.5 km which is consistent with our geophysical inversions. On the contrary, slow exhumation rates (?1 mm/yr), low subduction angles (15°), high-density contrasts (?400 to ?600 kg/m3) and bodies larger than 1.5 km wide, are not viable exhumation scenarios. The methodology developed provided insights to infer ancient subduction channel geometries and rheologies that include peridotite.