The Nazca Group of south-central Peru: Age, source, and regional volcanic and tectonic significance

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The Nazca Group, exposed east of Nazca, Peru, consists of a lower part composed of conglomerate and finer-grained clastic strata and an upper part made up of at least seven ash-flow sheets (cooling units or ignimbrites), collectively known as the Nazca Tuff. These tuffs were erupted between about 22 and 18 m.y. ago from a vent area in the vicinity of Pampa Galeras now marked by a collapse caldera. The early Miocene age of the Nazca Tuff provides additional evidence for a major pulse of largely pyroclastic felsic volcanism throughout the central Andes during the early Miocene. Recognition of the Pampa Galeras caldera supports the idea that many of these rocks were erupted from vent areas of the collapse-caldera type located near the eastern margin of the Coastal batholith. The Nazca Group overlies a major erosional surface cut on the Coastal batholith and its envelope that can be traced southward to the Chilean border. This surface is a continuation of the post-Incaic erosional surface to the north, which is overlain by conglomerate and radiometrically dated volcanic rock of late Eocene age. The post-Incaic surface therefore represents a major episode of regional uplift and pedimentation that followed early Tertiary orogeny. The absence of volcanic rocks of late Eocene/early Oligocene age overlying the Coastal batholith near Nazca and in southern Peru may reflect a general absence of post-Incaic volcanism in this portion of the Andes possibly related to differences in the angle of subduction and/or restriction of volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks of this age to depositional basins east of the batholith. © 1979.

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Earth and Planetary Science Letters