The Fila Costeña thrust belt in the forearc of Costa Rica is accommodating a significant portion of the convergence of the Cocos plate and Panama microplate. Geologic mapping of the thrust belt depicts a duplex with three horses that incorporate Eocene limestones and Oligocene to early Miocene clastics inboard of the subducting Cocos Ridge axis. By constructing a cross section at this location along a NE-SW trending transect perpendicular to the thrust belt, we constrain a shortening rate of approximately 40 mm/a and propose that as much as 50% of the total plate convergence rate is taken up in the inner forearc. The Eocene limestones at the base of the thrust sheets pinch out in both directions away from the onland projection of the Cocos Ridge axis owing to decrease in slip on faults and a lateral ramp in the basal décollement. The thrust belt terminates near the Panama border at the onland projection of the subducting Panama Fracture Zone. These observations suggest that shortening is propagating to the east with the migration of the Panama triple junction and the onset of shallow subduction of the thickened edge of the Cocos plate. The absence of similar features in the Nicaraguan forearc, where the subducting crust is older, subducts more steeply, and lacks incoming ridges and seamounts, indicates that deformation of the forearc basin in Costa Rica reflects greater couplin between converging plates inboard of the Cocos Ridge.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology