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    Kevin crowe


    The Cenozoic geological evolution of the Central Andes, along two transects between ∼17.5°S and 21°S, is compared with paleo-topography, determined from published paleo-altimetry studies. Surface and rock uplift are quantified using simple 2-D models of crustal shortening and thickening, together with estimates of sedimentation, erosion, and magmatic addition. Prior to ∼25 Ma, during a phase of amagmatic flat-slab subduction, thick-skinned crustal shortening and thickening (nominal age of initiation ∼40 Ma) was focused in the Eastern and Western Cordilleras, separated by a broad basin up to 300 km wide and close to sea level, which today comprises the high Altiplano. Surface topography at this time in the Altiplano and the western margin of the Eastern Cordillera appears to be ∼1 km lower than anticipated from crustal thickening, which may be due to the pull-down effect of the subducted slab, coupled to the overlying lithosphere by a cold mantle wedge.

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