The role of collisional tectonics in the metallogeny of the Central Andean tin belt [rapid communication]
The Inner Arc of the Central Andes, broadly corresponding to the Eastern Cordillera, is the location of a rich Tertiary and Triassic Sn-W-(Ag-base metal) metallogenic province, commonly referred to as the Bolivian tin belt. We propose that the Tertiary metallogeny, which generated most of the tin ores, was a direct consequence of discrete "collisions" between the South American plate and the Nazca slab and sub-slab mantle, during the ongoing Andean orogeny. Evidence supporting this proposal include: (1) the coincidence of the tin province and the Inner Arc in a marked "hump" in the Andean orogen, which may represent tectonic indentation; (2) the symmetry of the tin province with respect to the Bolivian orocline, the axis of which corresponds to the direction of highest compression; (3) the relative symmetry of the magmatism and tin mineralization with respect to this axis; (4) the concurrent timing of mineralization and compressional pulses; (5) the similar host rock geochemistry and ore lead isotope data, testifying to a common crustal reservoir; and (6) the striking similarity of the igneous suites, associated with the ore deposits to those from "typical" collisional orogens. A number of studies have called upon a persistent tin anomaly to explain the metallogeny of the region. We propose, instead, that the latter is better explained by periodic compressional interaction between the Farallon/Nazca oceanic plate and the South American continent. This led to the generation of peraluminous magmas, which during fractional crystallization exsolved the fluids responsible for the voluminous Sn-W mineralization.