In the southern Andes, the oblique convergence of the Nazca plate and the subduction of an active oceanic ridge represent two major tectonic features driving deformation of the forearc in the overriding continental plate, and the relative effects of these two mechanisms in the stress field have been a subject of debate. North of the Chile triple junction, oblique subduction of the Nazca plate is associated with the Liquiñe-Ofqui fault zone, an ∼1000-km-long strike-slip fault that is partitioning the stress and deformation in the forearc. South of the Chile triple junction, the Antarctic plate converges normal to the trench, and several ridge segments have been colliding with the overriding plate since 14 Ma. Proposed effects of the collision include episodes of uplift, extension, and formation of a forearc sliver. Using ambient seismic noise recorded by the Chile Ridge Subduction Project seismic network, we retrieved azimuthal anisotropy from inversion of Rayleigh wave group velocity in the 6–12 s period range, mostly sensitive to crustal depths. North of the Chile triple junction in the forearc region, our results show a fast velocity for azimuthal anisotropy oriented subparallel to the Liquiñe-Ofqui fault zone. South of the Chile triple junction, anisotropy is higher, and fast velocity measurements present clockwise rotation south of the subducted ridge and counterclockwise rotation north of the ridge. These results suggest the presence of two main domains of deformation: one with structures formed during oblique convergence of the Nazca plate north of the Chile triple junction and the other with structures formed during normal convergence of the Antarctic plate, coupled with collision of the Chile Ridge south of the Chile triple junction. Low velocities and high anisotropy over the subducted Chile Ridge and slab window could be an indication of anomalously high thermal conditions, yielding a more plastic deformation compared with the north, where conditions are more cold and rigid.
- Received 12 February 2011.
- Revision received 16 October 2011.
- Accepted 18 October 2011.
- © 2011 Geological Society of America