Climate and tectonics have complex feedback systems which are difficult to resolve and remain controversial. Here we propose a new climate-independent approach to constrain regional Andean surface uplift. 87 Sr/ 86 Sr and 143 Nd/ 144 Nd ratios of Quaternary frontal-arc lavas from the Andean Plateau are distinctly crustal (>0.705 and <0.5125, respectively) compared to non-plateau arc lavas, which we identify as a plateau discriminant. Strong linear correlations exist between smoothed elevation and 87 Sr/ 86 Sr (R 2 = 0.858, n = 17) and 143 Nd/ 144 Nd (R 2 = 0.919, n = 16) ratios of non-plateau arc lavas. These relationships are used to constrain 200 Myr of surface uplift history for the Western Cordillera (present elevation 4200 ± 516 m). Between 16 and 26°S, Miocene to recent arc lavas have comparable isotopic signatures, which we infer indicates that current elevations were attained in the Western Cordillera from 23 Ma. From 23-10 Ma, surface uplift gradually propagated southwards by ∼400 km.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)