Triassic alluvial braidplain and braided river deposits of the La Ternera Formation, Atacama region, northern Chile

C. M. Bell, M. Suárez

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The La Ternera Formation is a thick (>2,100 m) succession of terrigenous clastic sediments, with andesitic and basaltic intercalations, exposed in the Quebrada de Paipote area of the Atacama Region, northern Chile. The strata were deposited in an active rift basin during Late Triassic to (?) Early Jurassic times. The lower 1,000 m of the studied elastic succession comprises pebbly granule paraconglomerates, unconformably overlying Upper Paleozoic sedimentary successions, volcanics, and granitoids. These sediments were derived from the east and are interpreted as braid-plain deposits. The upper 800 m of the succession comprises interbedded orthoconglomerates, sandstones and mudstones. Abundant plant fossils include trees in growth position and carbonaceous horizons. Small scale depositional cycles were the product of migrating braided-river channel systems. Larger scale successions resulted from tectonic uplift. The sediments of the La Ternera Formation were derived predominantly from a tectonically uplifted area of Upper Paleozoic acidic volcanic and plutonic rocks (Pantanoso Formation, Choiyoi Group). Active uplift on the eastern margin of the sedimentary basin probably occurred along north-south trending faults. Continued subsidence of the basin resulted in a Sinemurian to Bajocian marine transgression. Occurrences of Triassic andesitic and basaltic volcanic rocks both to the west and the east of the La Ternera formation suggest deposition in an intea-volcanic graben or half-graben.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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