This book provides a comprehensive overview of the geological evolution of the Northern Andes and contiguous shield areas, with a focus upon Colombia. Updated geological interpretations are supported by modern lithogeochemical, seismic, gravity and magnetic data and radiogenic isotope and radiometric age determinations. The composite data permits a detailed interpretation of the tectono-magmatic history of the Northern Andean Block, including the Andes of Colombia, northern Ecuador, western Venezuela and eastern Panamá.
Tectonic reconstructions based upon characterization of more than thirty litho-tectonic and morpho-structural units, terrane assemblages and tectonic realms, and their bounding suture and fault systems, highlight the intimate and complementary Mesozoic-Cenozoic history of the Northern Andean Block and the Pacific and Caribbean Plates.
The complex nature of Northern Andean assembly contrasts with ‘‘classical’’ Central Andean ‘‘Cordilleran-type’’ orogenic models. Differences render the application of typical Cordilleran-type models inappropriate for the Colombian Andes.
The importance of underlying Proterozoic through mid-Mesozoic elements, in the development of Meso-Cenozoic Northern Andean orogeny-phase tectonic configurations is analyzed in the light of spatial-temporal studies and reconstructions related to basin formation, sedimentation, deformation, uplift mechanisms, structural style and magmatic evolution. The pre-Andean architecture of north western South America has played a pre-determinative role in the development of the Northern Andean orogenic system.
16 contributions analyze key stratigraphic, structural, metamorphic, magmatic and tectonic questions, and provide solutions as far as the most recent published field-based studies permit. The volume provides geological interpretations and tectonic models which contrast with repetitive theoretical proposals frequently found in the available literature.