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​Sedimentitas marinas del Neógeno en la bahía de Tumaco, Nariño

 Volume 3 Chapter 7

Chapter 7

Cenozoic Evolution of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia   

Mauricio PARRA, Sebastián ECHEVERRI, Ana María PATIÑO, Juan Carlos RAMÍREZ, Andrés MORA, Edward R. SOBEL, Ariel ALMENDRAL, and Andrés PARDO–TRUJILLO

https://doi.org/10.32685/pub.esp.37.2019.07


ISBN impreso obra completa: 978-958-52959-1-9

ISBN digital obra completa: 978-958-52959-6-4

ISBN impreso Vol. 3: 978-958-52959-4-0

ISBN digital Vol. 3: 978-958-53131-0-1​


Citation is suggested as: 

Parra, M., Echeverri, S., Patiño, A.M., Ramírez, J.C., Mora, A., Sobel, E.R., Almendral, A. & Pardo–Trujillo, A. 2020. Cenozoic evolution of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. In: Gómez, J. & Mateus–Zabala, D. (editors), The Geology of Colombia, Volume 3 Paleogene – Neogene. Servicio Geológico Colombiano, Publicaciones Geológicas Especiales 37, p. 185–213. Bogotá. https://doi.org/10.32685/pub.esp.37.2019.07


Download chapter  ​    Download supplementary information S1      Download supplementary information S2 

Download EndNote reference​


Abstract 


The highest coastal relief on Earth occurs in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia. With an average elevation of ca. 4 km and peaks up to ca. 5.8 km, this small mountain range lies only 85 km to the south of an abyssal plain ca. 3.5 km deep in the Caribbean Sea. A compilation of sparse bedrock and detrital low‒ temperature thermochronometric data, new detrital apatite fission‒track and apatite (U‒Th)/He data from modern river sediments, and stratigraphic patterns of adjacent Miocene ‒ Pliocene basins document episodic tectonic development of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. A Paleocene collision of oceanic crust with western Colombia triggered initial exhumation and westward monoclinal tilting of the formerly contiguous Central Cordillera and Santa Marta Massif. Subsequent late Eocene (ca. 35 Ma) dismembering of both ranges occurred associated with right‒lateral translation of the Caribbean Plate against the northwestern continental margin of Colombia. This episode marked the onset of contrasting exhumation histories, characterized by low denudation and pediment formation in the Central Cordillera and rapid, episodic exhumation of the Santa Marta Massif, associated with normal faulting and opening of extensional basins along its southwestern margin. Multiple approaches to extracting exhumation rates from thermochronometry, including 1D and 3D reconstructions, reveal that following rapid late Eocene ‒ early Miocene rock uplift, asymmetric exhumation characterized the Sierra Nevada. On the southwestern margin, moderate to rapid exhumation favored progradation of alluvial fan deposits on top of shallow marine and fan delta facies. In contrast, diminished exhumation prompted a reciprocal stratigraphy in the northern margin, where facies retrograde, leading to the accumulation of shallow marine facies on fan delta and alluvial fan deposits. Thermochronometric ages of outcropping units retrieved from modern river sands imply a very recent (<2 Ma) pulse of exhumation, possibly triggered by removal of lower crust, whose precise magnitude and time constraints remain unknown.

 

Keywords: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Caribbean Plate, thermochronology, sediment provenance.



Resumen

 

El mayor relieve topográfico costero de la Tierra ocurre en la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta en el norte de Colombia. Con una elevación promedio de ca. 4 km y picos de hasta ca. 5,8 km, esta pequeña cordillera yace tan solo 85 km al sur de una llanura abisal de ca. 3,5 km de profundidad en el mar Caribe. La compilación de los pocos datos existentes de termocronología de baja temperatura, tanto de roca del basamento como detríticos; nuevos datos detríticos de trazas de fisión y (U–Th)/He en apatitos en sedimentos activos y el estudio estratigráfico de cuencas marginales miocenas–pliocenas adyacentes documentan una evolución tectónica episódica de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. La colisión paleocena de corteza oceánica contra el margen occidental de Colombia desencadenó el levantamiento inicial y el basculamiento monoclinal hacia el oeste de un cinturón contiguo formado por la cordillera Central y el Macizo de Santa Marta. El posterior desmembramiento de estas dos cordilleras en el Eoceno tardío (ca. 35 Ma) ocurrió asociado a la translación dextrolateral de la Placa del Caribe a lo largo del margen continental noroccidental de Colombia. Este episodio marcó el inicio de historias contrastantes de desarrollo orogénico, caracterizadas por bajas tasas de denudación y desarrollo de pedimento en la cordillera Central y exhumación rápida y episódica en la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, asociada a fallamiento normal y apertura de cuencas extensionales en su margen suroccidental. Múltiples métodos para calcular tasas de exhumación a partir de termocronología, incluyendo modelado 1D y 3D, sugieren que tras un episodio de levantamiento rápido en el Eoceno tardío–Mioceno temprano se presentó exhumación asimétrica en la Sierra Nevada. En el margen suroccidental, la exhumación moderada a rápida favoreció la progradación de abanicos aluviales sobre depósitos marinos someros y facies de deltas en abanico. Por el contrario, una disminución en las tasas de levantamiento generó un patrón de apilamiento estratigráfico opuesto en el margen norte, en donde las facies retrogradaron, lo que causó la acumulación de facies marinas someras sobre depósitos de abanicos aluviales y deltas en abanico. Las edades termocronométricas de las rocas aflorantes obtenidas en sedimentos activos de barras fluviales revelan un pulso muy reciente (<2 Ma) de exhumación, posiblemente asociado a la remoción de corteza inferior, y cuya magnitud y temporalidad precisas aún están por descubrir.


Palabras clave: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Placa del Caribe, termocronología, procedencia sedimentaria.

 


Abbreviations 


AFT                                                Apatite fission–track

AHe                                             (U–Th)/He in apatites

CAPES                                     Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel

ESR                                              Equivalent–sphere radius

eU                                                  Effective uranium content

IEE–USP                             Institute of Energy and Environment, Universidade de São Paulo

IGc–USP                              Institute of Geosciences, Universidade de São Paulo

IPEN–USP                     Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research, Universidade de São Paulo

LLH                                           Log–likelihood function

LMB                                          Lower Magdalena Basin

ND                                             Number of induced tracks counted in the mica for estimating Rho–D

NI                                                  Number of induced tracks counted for estimating Rho–I

NS                                                Number of spontaneous tracks counted for estimating Rho–S

Rho–D                                 Induced track density

Rho–I                                     Induced tracks density measured

Rho–S                                   Spontaneous tracks density measured

SNSM                                     Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

SRTM                          90                          Shuttle Radar Topography Mission – Resolution 90 meters

TRMM                                   Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission

ZFT                                              Zircon fission–track

ZHe                                            (U–Th)/He in zircons​



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