Active thrusting, landscape evolution, and late Pleistocene sector collapse of Barú Volcano above the Cocos-Nazca slab tear, southern Central America

Kristin D. Morell, Thomas W. Gardner, Donald Myron Fisher, Bruce D. Idleman, Hannah M. Zellner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, stratigraphy, geochronology, and geologic mapping are used to characterize a sequence of Quaternary deposits associated with edifice failure of Barú Volcano, which, together with balanced cross sections, illustrate the upper plate's response to alongstrike variations in subduction properties that occur across the tear in the subducting slab located at the Panama fracture zone. The subducting Panama fracture zone is an active transform that separates disparate styles of subduction between the thick, rapid, and flat subduction of the Cocos plate to the west and the thinner, more oblique, and steeper subduction of the Nazca plate to the east. We focus on the arc-forearc region above the Cocos-Nazca slab tear, where both the Fila Costeña inner forearc fold-and-thrust belt and the exhumed Cordillera de Talamanca terminate along strike to the southeast. The Fila Costeña thrust belt imbricates an Eocene-late Miocene forearc basin sequence with up to 40 km of shortening inboard of Cocos plate subduction and crosscuts a sequence of Pleistocene and younger volcanosedimentary units on the southwestern flanks of the active Barú Volcano at its southeastern termination. These units, constrained in age by radiocarbon dating (n = 11), soil color, and 40Ar/39Ar (n = 5) data, include a sequence of late Pleistocene to Holocene debris-avalanche and lahar deposits. Landscape morphology, the areal distribution of units, and new shortening estimates from balanced cross sections collectively suggest that the southeastern termination of the Fila Costeña thrust belt actively propagates to the southeast coeval with migration of the Panama triple junction. The prevailing map pattern suggests that the forearc's response to southeastward migration of the slab tear varies with distance to the trench. In contrast to deformation patterns in the outermost forearc, plate-boundary tractions associated with shallow subduction and Cocos-Caribbean convergence are more influential in the development of arc-forearc deformation than either oblique subduction of the ~2 km bathymetric scarp, or rightlateral shear, which both occur astride the subducting Panama fracture zone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1301-1318
Number of pages18
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of America
Volume125
Issue number7-8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

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landscape evolution
slab
subduction
volcano
Pleistocene
fracture zone
Cocos plate
thrust
cross section
soil color
lahar
Nazca plate
debris avalanche
triple junction
fold and thrust belt
forearc basin
radiocarbon dating
Central America
plate boundary
cordillera

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology

Cite this

@article{08e14237b47649be80398f43c39c95f8,
title = "Active thrusting, landscape evolution, and late Pleistocene sector collapse of Bar{\'u} Volcano above the Cocos-Nazca slab tear, southern Central America",
abstract = "In this paper, stratigraphy, geochronology, and geologic mapping are used to characterize a sequence of Quaternary deposits associated with edifice failure of Bar{\'u} Volcano, which, together with balanced cross sections, illustrate the upper plate's response to alongstrike variations in subduction properties that occur across the tear in the subducting slab located at the Panama fracture zone. The subducting Panama fracture zone is an active transform that separates disparate styles of subduction between the thick, rapid, and flat subduction of the Cocos plate to the west and the thinner, more oblique, and steeper subduction of the Nazca plate to the east. We focus on the arc-forearc region above the Cocos-Nazca slab tear, where both the Fila Coste{\~n}a inner forearc fold-and-thrust belt and the exhumed Cordillera de Talamanca terminate along strike to the southeast. The Fila Coste{\~n}a thrust belt imbricates an Eocene-late Miocene forearc basin sequence with up to 40 km of shortening inboard of Cocos plate subduction and crosscuts a sequence of Pleistocene and younger volcanosedimentary units on the southwestern flanks of the active Bar{\'u} Volcano at its southeastern termination. These units, constrained in age by radiocarbon dating (n = 11), soil color, and 40Ar/39Ar (n = 5) data, include a sequence of late Pleistocene to Holocene debris-avalanche and lahar deposits. Landscape morphology, the areal distribution of units, and new shortening estimates from balanced cross sections collectively suggest that the southeastern termination of the Fila Coste{\~n}a thrust belt actively propagates to the southeast coeval with migration of the Panama triple junction. The prevailing map pattern suggests that the forearc's response to southeastward migration of the slab tear varies with distance to the trench. In contrast to deformation patterns in the outermost forearc, plate-boundary tractions associated with shallow subduction and Cocos-Caribbean convergence are more influential in the development of arc-forearc deformation than either oblique subduction of the ~2 km bathymetric scarp, or rightlateral shear, which both occur astride the subducting Panama fracture zone.",
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Active thrusting, landscape evolution, and late Pleistocene sector collapse of Barú Volcano above the Cocos-Nazca slab tear, southern Central America. / Morell, Kristin D.; Gardner, Thomas W.; Fisher, Donald Myron; Idleman, Bruce D.; Zellner, Hannah M.

In: Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, Vol. 125, No. 7-8, 01.07.2013, p. 1301-1318.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Active thrusting, landscape evolution, and late Pleistocene sector collapse of Barú Volcano above the Cocos-Nazca slab tear, southern Central America

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N2 - In this paper, stratigraphy, geochronology, and geologic mapping are used to characterize a sequence of Quaternary deposits associated with edifice failure of Barú Volcano, which, together with balanced cross sections, illustrate the upper plate's response to alongstrike variations in subduction properties that occur across the tear in the subducting slab located at the Panama fracture zone. The subducting Panama fracture zone is an active transform that separates disparate styles of subduction between the thick, rapid, and flat subduction of the Cocos plate to the west and the thinner, more oblique, and steeper subduction of the Nazca plate to the east. We focus on the arc-forearc region above the Cocos-Nazca slab tear, where both the Fila Costeña inner forearc fold-and-thrust belt and the exhumed Cordillera de Talamanca terminate along strike to the southeast. The Fila Costeña thrust belt imbricates an Eocene-late Miocene forearc basin sequence with up to 40 km of shortening inboard of Cocos plate subduction and crosscuts a sequence of Pleistocene and younger volcanosedimentary units on the southwestern flanks of the active Barú Volcano at its southeastern termination. These units, constrained in age by radiocarbon dating (n = 11), soil color, and 40Ar/39Ar (n = 5) data, include a sequence of late Pleistocene to Holocene debris-avalanche and lahar deposits. Landscape morphology, the areal distribution of units, and new shortening estimates from balanced cross sections collectively suggest that the southeastern termination of the Fila Costeña thrust belt actively propagates to the southeast coeval with migration of the Panama triple junction. The prevailing map pattern suggests that the forearc's response to southeastward migration of the slab tear varies with distance to the trench. In contrast to deformation patterns in the outermost forearc, plate-boundary tractions associated with shallow subduction and Cocos-Caribbean convergence are more influential in the development of arc-forearc deformation than either oblique subduction of the ~2 km bathymetric scarp, or rightlateral shear, which both occur astride the subducting Panama fracture zone.

AB - In this paper, stratigraphy, geochronology, and geologic mapping are used to characterize a sequence of Quaternary deposits associated with edifice failure of Barú Volcano, which, together with balanced cross sections, illustrate the upper plate's response to alongstrike variations in subduction properties that occur across the tear in the subducting slab located at the Panama fracture zone. The subducting Panama fracture zone is an active transform that separates disparate styles of subduction between the thick, rapid, and flat subduction of the Cocos plate to the west and the thinner, more oblique, and steeper subduction of the Nazca plate to the east. We focus on the arc-forearc region above the Cocos-Nazca slab tear, where both the Fila Costeña inner forearc fold-and-thrust belt and the exhumed Cordillera de Talamanca terminate along strike to the southeast. The Fila Costeña thrust belt imbricates an Eocene-late Miocene forearc basin sequence with up to 40 km of shortening inboard of Cocos plate subduction and crosscuts a sequence of Pleistocene and younger volcanosedimentary units on the southwestern flanks of the active Barú Volcano at its southeastern termination. These units, constrained in age by radiocarbon dating (n = 11), soil color, and 40Ar/39Ar (n = 5) data, include a sequence of late Pleistocene to Holocene debris-avalanche and lahar deposits. Landscape morphology, the areal distribution of units, and new shortening estimates from balanced cross sections collectively suggest that the southeastern termination of the Fila Costeña thrust belt actively propagates to the southeast coeval with migration of the Panama triple junction. The prevailing map pattern suggests that the forearc's response to southeastward migration of the slab tear varies with distance to the trench. In contrast to deformation patterns in the outermost forearc, plate-boundary tractions associated with shallow subduction and Cocos-Caribbean convergence are more influential in the development of arc-forearc deformation than either oblique subduction of the ~2 km bathymetric scarp, or rightlateral shear, which both occur astride the subducting Panama fracture zone.

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