Geochemistry and Geochronology

Where were there volcanoes in Colombia’s past? How did the past movement of tectonic plates beneath Colombia drive this volcanism? To answer these questions, scientists from Arizona State University lead by Professor Christy Till and Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Medellín lead by Professor Agustin Cardona Molina will determine the chemical composition and age of volcanic rocks from across Colombia as part of this project. With this data, they will be able to better understand how the volcanic history affected the formation of the landscape and mountain ranges in Colombia.

Specifically, our three goals are:

Goal 1: Geochemically constrain the effects of flat slab subduction on the continental lithosphere by studying the geochemistry of extrusive products north and south of the Caldas tear at ~5°N.

Goal 2: Reconstruct the detailed timing and lateral (east-west) extent of slab flattening (and re-steepening where relevant) based on the < 14 Ma spatio-temporal-compositional patterns of magmatic activity along the Pacific margin of Colombia.

Goal 3: Reconstruct the tectono-magmatic setting of volcanism in Colombia both north and south of 5°N from 14 Ma to present. Volcanic geochemistry is diagnostic of underlying tectono-magmatic processes. Examining the geochemistry of 14-0 Ma volcanism will constrain the tectonic configuration, including shallowing subduction and changes in mantle flow and thermal profiles.