Selective reactivation of inherited fault zones driven by stress field changes: Insights from structural and paleostress analysis of the Pocuro Fault Zone, Southern Central Andes (32.8°S)Revista : Journal of South American Earth Sciences
Volumen : 118
Número : 103914
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación
This study aims to explain the selective reactivation of normal faults during the Andean orogeny at the Southern Central Andes western ?ank. We conducted a structural mapping and paleostress ?eld reconstruction in the regional-scale Pocuro Fault Zone (PFZ) at 32.8?S. Results reveal that the architecture of the PFZ results from at least two deformation phases, each revealing an individual progressive and gradual evolution. The earliest deformation phase is recorded by two ~ NS-striking normal faults involving a 5 km wide damage zone char-acterized by quartz-laumontite and calcite veins that were developed under an extensional regime with a WNW- ESE-trending ?3-axis. The latest deformation phase is recorded by one NS-striking reverse-dextral fault with goethite-hematite syn-tectonic precipitation and two NW-striking reverse-sinistral faults. Reverse faults were developed under a compressional/transpressional regime characterised by an ENE-WSW-trending ?1-axis with a ?2-/?3-axis permutation. From a geophysical data reassessment, we inferred that observed faults in the surface within the PFZ are regional-scale deep-seated structures. Considering previous geochronological data, we correlated the earliest and latest phases with the Abanico Basin extension (middle Eocene-early Miocene) and its subsequent inversion (Miocene). Given the neotectonic evidence (geomorphic markers and deformation of un-consolidated deposits), the latter phase likely remains active. Quartz-laumontite cementation of the fault cores cataclastic material promotes mechanical strengthening leading to negative feedback for the reactivation of inherited normal faults as reverse ones. Conversely, the concentration of fractures in the damage zone between the normal faults promotes mechanical weakening resulting in a preferential area for the propagation of reverse fault during the compressive/transpressional phase.