This study provides an integrated review of plate tectonic models of the evolution of the Antarctica-Patagonia connection compared to geological records collected on land in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, and offshore along the northern edge of the Scotia Sea. A temporal framework for the sedimentary and tectonic events of the North Scotia Ridge and Tierra del Fuego is constructed with additional data compiled from entire Patagonia and the Austral Basin. This review provides robust correlations of seaways and tectonic events along the Scotia and South America plates and indicates that the opening of the Drake Passage was not steady state since ca. 30 Ma. Rather the regions forming the present-day northern limit of this gateway experienced important paleogeographic changes, from deep marine basins to shallow ridges and emerged regions during the late Oligocene and early-middle Miocene time. Our compilation of geological data shows that emergence along the North Scotia Ridge and Tierra del Fuego was achieved at 23-22 Ma, and has been followed by elimination of the Patagoniano Sea in Patagonia, starting at 22-23 Ma and achieved at 20 Ma. This transition towards more continental sedimentation in southern South America is correlated with more shallow marine conditions in the Austral Basin. This succession of events had a strong influence on the general geometry of the Drake Passage, corresponding to a constriction of its northern limit, starting in the window 29-22 Ma and achieved at 21 Ma. This period of active deformation in southern South America also corresponds to a period of the global climate having two anomalies well known from the isotopic records: the Late Oligocene Warming, around 26 Ma and the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum which ended between 15 and 14 Ma. The possible effects of the post-Oligocene tectonic evolution of the Drake Passage region on general oceanic circulation are discussed. Causes for the synchronicity between tectonic events and these global warming events are examined.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Geoquímica y petrología
- Ciencias planetarias y de la Tierra (miscelánea)
- Ciencias planetarias y espacial