A GEOMORFOLOGIA DA SERRA DO ESPINHAÇO EM MINAS GERAIS E DE SUAS MARGENS
AbstractThe geomorphological evolution of the Serra do Espinhaço is discussed based on: a) a critical analysisof previous papers about the geomorphology of the range, b) new interpretation based on own field data,c) regional interpretation, considering informations about the evolution of adjacent areas west and east ofthe range (São Francisco River, Doce River and Jeqitinhonha-Araçuaí Rivers Basins). The global contextis presented as a synthetical characterization of the main geological conditions, regional physiographyand drainage system organization and anomalies.The regional geomorphological organization is rigid controlled by the geology: a) the shape of therange reproduce the original collisional arc developed during the proterozoic orogeny, b) the existence oftwo strongly diferenciated plateaux (Planalto Meridional and Planalto Setentrional) reflect the litho-structuralcontrast between the southern and northern parts of the range, c) the morphology expresses the associationbetween lithological resistance to erosion and the tectonic organization in all scales.The morphology of the higher portions of the plateaux is characterized by relicts of two tertiaryplanation surfaces. They are probably peneplains resulting from erosion under tropical humid climaticconditions. During the Pleistocene, the valleys recorded the formation of several stepped terraces. thespacial variation on its dislevelments reflects the intensity of crustal uplifts and the position of the streamsin the drainage system hierarchy. The hillsides were, during the Upper Pleistocene, covered by two finecolluvial layers. In both cases, the cenozoic sediments register evidences of humid and hot paleoclimaticconditions.The Serra do Espinhaço acquired its present main physiography after the Miocene, which wascharacterized by tectonic stability. During the Pliocene, a strong compressional tectonic event reactivatedthe main precambrian thrust faults and detachment planes. As a consequence, the high scarp related to thewest thrust front was enhanced together with a eastward tilting of the plateaux. At the same time, in thePlanalto Setentrional, several valley heads of the São Francisco drainage basin were deviated and capturedby the Jequitinhonha Basin drainage system. In the Planalto Meridional, the geological conditions (porouslithology and anticline structure) favoured the capture of streams by the São Francisco Basin drainagesystem.As a consequence of the compressional forces that uplifted the range, an extensional stress fielddeveloped in the eastern border, generating grabens structures where the main rivers installed its valleys.The neotectonic activity is also recorded in several parts of the range and adjacent areas by normal, reverseand strike-slip faults in pleistocenic alluvial and colluvial deposits. Fault planes data analysis indicates ageneral NW-SE compressional stress field that remains up to the present time, as confirmed by results ofseismological data.(*)
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