Uplift of quaternary shorelines in eastern Patagonia: Darwin revisited
During his journey on the Beagle, Darwin observed the uniformity in the elevation of coastal Eastern Patagonia along more than 2000 km. More than one century later, the sequences of Quaternary shorelines of eastern Patagonia have been described and their deposits dated but not yet interpreted in terms of geodynamics. Consequently, we i) mapped the repartition of the Quaternary coastal sequences in Argentinean Patagonia, ii) secured accurate altitudes of shoreline angles associated with erosional morphologies (i.e. marine terraces and notches), iii) took into account previous chrono-stratigraphical interpretations in order to calculate mean uplift rates since ~ 440 ka (MIS 11) and proposed age ranges for the higher and older features (up to ~ 180 m), and iv) focused on the Last Interglacial Maximum terrace (MIS 5e) as the best constrained marine terrace (in terms of age and altitude) in order to use it as a tectonic benchmark to quantify uplift rates along the entire passive margin of Eastern South America. Our results show that the eastern Patagonia uplift is constant through time and twice the uplift of the rest of the South American margin. We suggest that the enhanced uplift along the eastern Patagonian coast that interested Darwin during his journey around South America on the Beagle could originate from the subduction of the Chile ridge and the associated dynamic uplift.