Geology of Chile

The Geology of Chile is mainly a product of the Andean and preceding orogenies which are caused by the long-lived convergent boundary at South America's western coast. While in the Paleozoic and Precambrian this boundary was affected by the accretion of terranes and microcontinents it has since then developed into a pure subduction zone. The subduction have shaped four features parallel to its strike; the Andes, the Intermediate Depression which is a graben and foreland basin, the Coast Range which is an accretionary wedge and horst and the Peru-Chile Trench off the coast. As Chile lies in an active continental margin, it host a large number of subduction volcanoes and nearly all of the territory of Chile is subject to earthquakes arising from strains in the subducting Nazca and Antarctic Plates or shallow strike-slip faults.

Mineral resources in the northern regions of Chile have since late 19th century made up the bulk of the country's export and state income. Chile is currently a leading producer of copper, lithium and molybdenum. Much of the country's mineral wealth have accumlated thanks to long lived volcanic and magmatic activity as well as the extreme aridity that have prevailed over Atacama Desert for millions of years.

The Chilean territories of Easter Island, and Juan Fernández Archipelago are extinct volcanic hotspot islands in the eastward moving Nazca plate. The Antarctic Peninsula, claimed as part of the Chilean Antarctic Territory, shares a series of characteristics with the southern Andes.

Read more about Geology Of Chile:  General Characteristics, Pacific Islands, Geological Hazards