What was the history of deformation, uplift, and erosion in the Andes of Colombia? How has the landscape evolved in response to changes in subduction processes? Our study will investigate the record of crustal deformation and rock uplift, as well as the patterns of erosion, sediment transport, and deposition in Colombia. Sedimentary basins record the deposition of detrital rock materials eroded from uplifting mountains and provide insights into sediment routing and past river drainage patterns. Colombia contains the headwaters of several major systems, including the Magdalena, Orinoco, and Amazon rivers. In addition, thermochronological analyses of bedrock and basin fill will determine the integrated records of rock uplift and exhumation of deeper crustal materials. Collectively, these results will offer a long-term temporal and spatial framework in which to understand landscape evolution across the diverse ranges and basins of Colombia.
Our investigation will span the two major mountain ranges and two major sedimentary basins of Colombia. The evolution of the Central Cordillera and the Eastern Cordillera, along with the Magdalena Valley and Llanos basins, is the combined product of crustal shortening, strike-slip faulting, rock uplift, magmatism, basin subsidence, and the erosion, transport, and deposition of sediments. We aim to identify the time-space variations in the development of these different structural systems (the two principal ranges and their flanking basins) and assess how such variations may be linked to changes in subduction (for example, steep vs. shallow slab subduction) and other tectonic interactions along this ocean-continent plate boundary.