About Chile

Chile is located along the western side of the Andes for over 4000 km, and is known worldwide for its highly active volcanism and seismicity related to the subduction of the Nazca and Antarctic oceanic plates beneath South America. Old continental basement rocks of the Chilean Andes were formed during the growth of the southwestern margin of Gondwana and are constituted by accreted Paleozoic terranes and associated accretionary complexes developed along ancient subduction zones. Due to the successive accretion events, the subduction-related Paleozoic plutonic belts were added gradually towards the west. Mesozoic and Cenozoic development is characterized by almost continuous subduction activity with early development of marginal basins and successive magmatic arcs migrating eastwards, accompanied by several orogenic events and development of copper-rich ore deposits distributed along crustal-scale fault zones. The Chilean Andes comprise more than 80 Pleistocene and Holocene volcanoes with historical activity, which have been key natural laboratories for the study of volcanism, magma genesis and crust-mantle interactions in subduction settings. The geomorphology and landscape evolution have been influenced by latitudinal differences of tectonic plate kinematics and climate variabilities. Neogene landscapes are preserved in the hyperarid mountain ranges of northern Chile, Quaternary uplifted marine terraces along the coastline are characteristic and glacial geomorphology dominates in southernmost latitudes.