Cenozoic forearc basin sediments in Southern Peru (15-18°S): Stratigraphic and heavy mineral constraints for Eocene to Miocene evolution of the Central Andes
A large sedimentary forearc basin developed in Cenozoic times between the present-day Coastal Cordillera and the Western Cordillera of the Central Andes, called Moquegua basin in southern Peru. The basin is filled by Moquegua Group deposits (~ 50 to 4 Ma) comprising mostly siliciclastic mudstones, sandstones and conglomerates as well as volcanic intercalations. Several facies changes both, along orogenic strike and through time, are described and have led to subdivision into four sedimentary units (Moquegua A, B, C and D). In this paper we present a refined stratigraphic scheme of the Moquegua Group combined with the first provenance analysis of the Moquegua basin based on (i) semi-quantitative analysis of heavy mineral abundance, (ii) electron microprobe (EMP) and laser ablation (LA) ICP-MS analyses of single detrital amphibole and Fe-Ti oxide grains, and (iii) comparative analysis of the different potential source rocks to clearly identify the most likely sources. Results allow us to reconstruct sediment provenance and to relate changes of the erosion-sedimentation system in the Moquegua basin to the evolution of the Andean orogen. At ~ 50 to ~ 40 Ma the Moquegua basin was close to sea level and fed by low energy rivers transporting mainly metamorphic basement and Jurassic-Cretaceous sedimentary detritus from local and distal sources. The latter might be as far as the present Eastern Cordillera. From ~ 35 Ma on the distal sediment sources were cut off by the uplift of the Altiplano and Eastern Cordillera leading to higher energy fluvial systems and increasing importance of local sources, especially the relevant volcanic arcs. From 25 Ma on volcanic arc rocks became the predominant sources for Moquegua Group sediments. The 10 Ma time lag observed between the onset of uplift-induced facies and provenance changes (at ~ 35 Ma) and the onset of intense magmatic activity (at ~ 25 Ma) suggests that magmatic addition was not the main driver for crustal thickening and uplift in the Central Andes during latest Eocene to Oligocene time.