Projects & Grants

Deciphering the largest rock spread on Earth: why in arid Patagonia?
Project Id23-07310S
Main solverprof. RNDr. Tomáš Pánek, Ph.D.
Period1/2023 - 12/2025
ProviderStandardní projekt GA ČR
AnotationGiant rock spreads represent some of the largest terrestrial landslides on Earth, while relatively little is known about their origin and chronology. Recently we identified by far the largest rock spread in the world in arid Argentinean Patagonia. The rock spread here affects an area of more than 12,000 km2 of mesetas consisting of Neogene basalts overlying weak volcanoclastics and sedimentary rocks. Despite its enormous extent and first-order importance in the landscape, no research has yet been devoted to deciphering controls and chronology of this unique rock spread province. In this project, we will focus on defining main variables influencing regional variations in the extent of Patagonian rock spread and its paleogeographic significance. We will address why the rock spread is situated in this arid region and to what extent its formation was accelerated during the wet Quaternary periods. Understanding Patagonian rock spread will shed new light on the possible genesis of giant rock spreads in other world´s arid regions, with recent conditions unfavourable for mass movements.