Palaeomagnetic, geochronological and geological constraints on the tectonic evolution of the Mejillones Peninsula, northern Chile

Adrian J. Hartley*, Peter Turner, David C. Rex, Stephen Flint

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Palaeomagnetic and geochronological data from an Early Palaeozoic high grade metamorphic complex (Jorgina Formation) and Jurassic layered basic intrusion (Moreno Complex) are reported from the Mejillones Peninsula of northern Chile (23–23°30'S). 40Ar–39Ar dates from the Lower Palaeozoic Jorgina Formation and the Moreno Complex are between 170 and 158 Ma, coincident with a phase of emplacement of the north Chilean coastal batholith. This suggests that intrusion and magnetization of the Moreno Complex and the metamorphism and remagnetization of the Jorgina Formation were related to batholith emplacement. Extracted stable components of magnetization from all units (17 sites) define site‐mean directions with a scattered distribution. The scatter in site‐mean directions is interpreted as being due to minor, localized, non‐uniform, block‐fault related (normal or strike‐slip, or both) rotation after 158 Ma. The palaeomagnetic and geochronological data indicate that no significant large‐scale latitudinal translation of crustal blocks has taken place in this part of northern Chile since the Late Jurassic. In addition, they indicate that the uniform clockwise rotation after the mid‐Cretaceous which affected the adjacent Cordillera de la Costa either did not extend into the Mejillones Peninsula or took the form of localized block‐fault rotations. The restriction of palaeomagnetically defined styles of rotation to discrete areas within the north Chilean forearc indicates that forearc wide block‐fault rotation models are not applicable to the Pacific margin of northern Chile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-74
Number of pages16
JournalGeological Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992


  • Andes Block rotation
  • Cordillera de la Costa
  • Mejillones Peninsula
  • Northern Chile
  • Palaeomagnetism


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