Slip rates along the narrow Magallanes Fault System, Tierra Del Fuego Region, Patagonia

Sandoval, Francisca, B.; De Pascale, Gregory, P.


The up to 1000 km-long Magallanes Fault System (MFS) is the southernmost onshore strike-slip plate boundary and located between the South American and Scotia Plates. Slip-rates, a key factor for understanding neotectonics and seismic hazard are only available there from geodetic models. In this study, we present the first direct geologic evidence of MFS slip rates. Late-Cenozoic slip rates along the main MF is 5.4 ± 3.3 mm/yr based on lithologic geological separations found in regional mapping. Late-Quaternary deformation from offset geomorphologic markers was documented along the MFS in Chile and Argentina based on a combination of satellite mapping, fieldwork, and Structure from Motion (SfM) models developed from drone photography. By combining displacements observed in SfM models with regional Late-Quaternary dating, sinistral slip rates are 10.5 ± 1.5 mm/yr (Chile) and 7.8 ± 1.3 mm/yr (Argentina). By comparing our results with regional models, contemporary plate boundary deformation is narrow, approximately ~20–50 km wide from Tierra Del Fuego (TdF) and east (one of the narrowest on Earth), which widens and becoming more diffuse from Cabo Froward north and west (>100 km wide). In addition to the tectonic implications, these faults should be considered important sources of fault rupture and seismic hazard.

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Título de la Revista: Scientific Reports
Volumen: 10
Número: 1
Editorial: Nature Publishing Group
Fecha de publicación: 2020