SUBSURFACE STRUCTURE INTERPRETATION OF THE NORTH OF THE WESTERN CORDILLERA, ECUADOR: INSIGHTS FROM AEROMAGNETIC DATA
We redefined the geometry of three principal system faults in this region: Western System Fault (WSF), Central System Fault (CSF) and Eastern System Fault (ESF); based on qualitative interpretation and spatial analysis. Characteristics about the deformation style were derived from further structural analysis. Our results show two consistent fault populations: (1) dominant NE/SW mostly dextral faults, preferably larger than about 6 km. (2) E-W both, dextral and sinistral faults, apparently shorter than 6 km. Additionally, depth estimation suggests deep sub-basins within the study area, to about 2-3 km depth, according with quantitative interpretation and 2D forward modelling.
Finally, we propose and discuss a model of the subsurface and the structural framework for this area, explained by a single deformation history and characterized by current transpression. We then consider the implications of these structures (WSF, CSF and ESF) on mineral potential - especially regarding magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits with a preference for porphyry and epithermal styles as the new insights presented in this study may help to reduce exploration uncertainty and hopefully delineate new targets in the region.