Cenozoic increase in subduction erosion during plate convergence variability along the convergent margin off Trujillo, Peru

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© 2020 Elsevier B.V. Subduction erosion is a long-term, large-scale geological process that dominates the structural inventory of a large number of convergent margins. Along the Peruvian convergent margin, this process has controlled the structural deformation of the forearc as a consequence of spatio-temporal variations during the Cenozoic. However, the pace at which tectonic erosion occurred has not been linked to regional, subduction-related events. The aim of this study is to show that subduction erosion along the Central Peruvian convergent margin off Trujillo (7∘S–9∘S) was influenced by plate convergence variability since the Late Cretaceous. Drilling data, multi-channel seismic (MCS) data and subsidence analyses are used to investigate the long-term effect of subduction erosion on the tectonic evolution of the Peru margin. Our study shows that subduction erosion (1) did not occur between the Cretaceous and Early Eocene (110–56 Ma), (2) increased and fluctuated between the Eocene and Pliocene (56–5 Ma) with a maximum average trench retreat of 3 km.Myr−1 between the Middle Miocene and Late Miocene (20–5 Ma), and (3) has decreased since the Pliocene (5 Ma) (1 km.Myr−1 of average trench retreat). A remarkable finding is that shorter periods of faster subduction erosion coincide with or follow major plate reorganization events that were marked by changes in the velocity and direction of relative plate convergence as well as with well-known phases of Andean orogeny. Based on our analyses, we therefore conclude that convergence variability off Peru is a primary mechanism controlling the pace at which tectonic erosion occurred along the Trujillo Basin during the Cenozoic.

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