Journal article

Spatial and temporal patterns of exhumation across the Venezuelan Andes: Implications for Cenozoic Caribbean geodynamics

Mauricio A Bermudez, Barry P Kohn, Peter A van der Beek, Matthias Bernet, Paul B O'Sullivan, Reginald Shagam

Tectonics | AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION | Published : 2010

Abstract

The Venezuelan Andes formed by complex geodynamic interaction between the Caribbean Plate, the Panam Arc, the South American Plate and the continental Maracaibo block. We study the spatial and temporal patterns of exhumation across the Venezuelan Andes using 47 new apatite fission track (AFT) ages as well as topographic analyses. This approach permits the identification of at least seven tectonic blocks (Escalante, Cerro Azul, Trujillo, Caparo, Sierra Nevada, Sierra La Culata and El Carmen blocks) with contrasting exhumation and cooling histories. The Sierra Nevada, Sierra La Culata and El Carmen blocks, located in the central part of the Venezuelan Andes and separated by the Bocon fault sys..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

Grants

Awarded by Consejo de Desarrollo Cientifico y Humanistico (CDCH-UCV) de la Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV)


Awarded by ECOS


Funding Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Consejo de Desarrollo Cientifico y Humanistico (CDCH-UCV) de la Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV), Project PI 08-00-6219-2006, and ECOS Nord project V08U01. We thank the Instituto Nacional de Parques (INPAR-QUES) de la Region Andina and the Teleferico System, Merida-Venezuela for permission to sample in the Sierra Nevada National Park and logistical support during fieldwork. We thank Francois Senebier for mineral separation. The University of Melbourne thermochronology laboratory receives infrastructure support under the AuScope Program of NCRIS. Neutron irradiation costs for samples analyzed were covered by the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE). This work is dedicated to the memory and career of Reginald Shagam, also known as "El Tigre De Los Andes", who died on 19 April 2008, in Beer Sheva, Israel. One of us (B. P. K.) in particular remembers him warmly as a colleague and friend, as an inspirational human being and as a geoscientist who made invaluable contributions to the understanding of Andean tectonics.