Lanalhue Fault

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Lanalhue Fault is a northwest-striking fault that marks the contact between two distinct units of continental basement, the Eastern and Western Series in south-central Chile, separating the Nahuelbuta Range Cordillera de Nahuelbuta at the east and the Arauco Peninsula and Basin to the west. The fault takes name from Lanalhue Lake, which is located in part of the fault trace, of elongated shape shows the NW-SE trend. The lanalhue fault makes up a major lithological boundary in the Chilean Coast Range to which Cordillera de Nahuelbuta belongs. The Nahuelbuta Range is composed by Carboniferous granitic core bounded by High-T metasedimentary rocks referred as the Eastern Series. The Arauco Basin contains over 3 km of late Cretaceous to Holocene continental and marine sediments, being a major center of coal mining and hydrocarbon exploration for over a century.[1] From Valparaíso Region to Lanalhue Fault Carboniferous-Permian granitoids makes up a large part of the bedrock of the Chilean Coast Range. These igneous rocks was once part of a proto-Andean magmatic belt. South of Lanalhue Fault most of the Chilean Coast Range is an accretionary wedge formed by at least since the Paleozoic along the subduction zone at South Americas western margin.

From a tentative correlation of the fault zone with the similarly NW-SE striking dextral Jurassic Gastre Fault System (cf. Rapela & Pankhurst, 1992) in Central Patagonia, Argentina, it was termed ‘Gastre Fault Zone’ or ‘Gastre-Purén Fault Zone’. However, in later works [2] it is shown that this correlation is incorrect. Since the lake ‘Lago Lanalhue’, is located on the fault trace and shows a NW-SE-elongated shape, ‘Lanalhue Fault Zone (LFZ)’ stands as appropriate name for the here discussed fault zone. It was speculated that the inferred Gastre Fault Zone aligned Villarrica, Quetrupillán and Lanín volcanoes, until the Mocha-Villarrica Fault Zone was discovered.


  1. ^ Melnick et al 2009, Segmentation of megathrust rupture zones from fore-arc deformation patterns over hundreds to millions of years, Arauco peninsula, Chile
  2. ^ Glodny, J., Echtler, H., Collao, S., Ardiles, M., Burón, P., Figueroa, O. (2008): Differential Late Paleozoic active margin evolution in South-Central Chile (37°S-40°S) -The Lanalhue Fault Zone. - Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 26, 4, 397-411"