The role of flat slab subduction, ridge subduction, and tectonic inheritance in Andean deformation Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractConvergent plate boundaries show sharp variations in orogenic width and extent of intraplate deformation. Analysis of late Cenozoic contractile deformation along the Andean mountain front and adjacent foreland highlights the contrasting degrees of deformation advance toward the plate interior. The retroarc positions of the Andean topographic front (marked by frontal thrust-belt structures) and foreland deformation front (defined by isolated basement block uplifts) range from 300 to 900 km inboard of the trench axis. Over the ~8000 km arcuate length of the Andes (10N to 55S), four discrete maxima of inboard deformation advance are spatially co-located with the Peruvian (5S14S) and Pampean (27S33S) zones of flat slab subduction, the subducted Chile Ridge (45S48S), and the anomalously thick Paleozoic stratigraphic wedge of Bolivia (17S 23S). The spatial correspondence of retroarc shortening with specific geodynamic configurations demonstrates the mechanical role of flat slab subduction, slab window development, and combined structural and stratigraphic geometries in shaping the orogenic architecture of Cordilleran margins, largely through lithospheric strengthening, weakening, and/or tectonic inheritance.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 84.05

author list (cited authors)

  • Horton, B. K., Capaldi, T. N., & Perez, N. D.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Horton, Brian K||Capaldi, Tomas N||Perez, Nicholas D

publication date

  • September 2022