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 Volume 2 Chapter 1

Chapter 1

The Permian – Triassic History of Magmatic Rocks of the Northern Andes (Colombia and Ecuador): Supercontinent Assembly and Disassembly   

Richard SPIKINGS and Andre PAUL

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

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

ISBN impreso Vol. 2: 978-958-52959-3-3

ISBN digital Vol. 2: 978-958-52959-8-8

Citation is suggested as: 

Spikings, R. & Paul, A. 2019. The Permian – Triassic history of magmatic rocks of the northern Andes (Colombia and Ecuador): Supercontinent assembly and disassembly. In: Gómez, J. & Pinilla–Pachon, A.O. (editors), The Geology of Colombia, Volume 2 Mesozoic. Servicio Geológico Colombiano, Publicaciones Geológicas Especiales 36, p. 1–43. Bogotá.


Northwestern South America and its conjugate margins record the Permian assembly of Pangaea, its Triassic fragmentation and opening of the proto–Caribbean ocean, and the onset of the Andean cycle at ca. 209 Ma. We review Permian and Triassic magmatic rocks exposed in the cordilleras and dispersed inliers in Colombia and Ecuador and present a large geochronological, geochemical, isotopic, and thermochronological database. These data are used to develop a model for the evolution of rocks within Colombia and Ecuador during the formation and destruction of Pangaea. Similar data has been assembled from studies of the southern North American and western Caribbean plates, as well as Venezuela and further south within South America, and a large–scale reconstruction for western Pangaea is provided. Permian magmatic rocks in Colombia and Ecuador (288–253 Ma) formed within a continental arc system which extended from at least southern North America to southern Perú. The Permian arc within northwestern South America was dismembered during Cenozoic interactions with the Caribbean Plate, causing some blocks to be transferred eastwards. Compression and regional metamorphism at ca. 250 Ma is best recorded in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and represents the final stages of amalgamation and thickening of western Pangaea. Continental rifting prevailed within southern North America and the entire western margin of South America during 245–216 Ma. Significant back–arc extension in northwestern South America leads to a rift–to–drift transition in Colombia and Ecuador, forming oceanic lithosphere of the proto–Caribbean. Rifting failed south of the Huancabamba Deflection and is preserved as Triassic basins in Perú, western Argentina, and Chile. Triassic rifting represents the early fragmentation of western Pangaea, and the attenuation of its margin may be a prelude to complete the separation by enhancing mantle upwelling, inducing a Large Igneous Province, and weakening the crust within a tensile regime.


Keywords: Permian – Triassic, Pangaea, supercontinent, continental rift, anatexis.​


El noroccidente de Suramérica y sus márgenes conjugados registran la formación de Pangea durante el Pérmico, su fragmentación durante el Triásico y la apertura del océano proto–Caribe, así como el comienzo del ciclo andino hace ca. 209 Ma. En este capítulo presentamos una revisión de las rocas magmáticas del Pérmico y Triásico que afloran como fragmentos dispersos en las cordilleras de Colombia y Ecuador; además, presentamos una amplia base de datos geocronológica, geoquímica, isotópica y termocronológica. Estos datos se utilizan para desarrollar un modelo de la evolución de las rocas en Colombia y Ecuador durante la formación y la separación de Pangea. Otros estudios en el sur de la Placa de Norteamérica y en el occidente de la Placa del Caribe, así como en Venezuela y más al sur dentro de Suramérica, han sido también tenidos en cuenta para este análisis. Adicionalmente, se preparó una reconstrucción a gran escala del occidente de Pangea. Las rocas magmáticas del Pérmico de Colombia y Ecuador (288–253 Ma) se formaron en un ambiente de arco continental que se extendió al menos desde el sur de Norteamérica hasta el sur de Perú. En el noroccidente de Suramérica, este arco pérmico se separó durante las interacciones con la Placa del Caribe en el Cenozoico, de forma que algunos bloques fueron transferidos hacia el oriente. La compresión y el metamorfismo regional que ocurrieron hace ca. 250 Ma se observan claramente en la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta y representan los estados finales de la amalgamación y engrosamiento del occidente de Pangea. El rift continental continuó en el sur de Norteamérica y todo el margen occidental de Suramérica durante 245–216 Ma. La extensión en el retroarco en Suramérica fue muy importante y llevó a una transición rift–drift en Colombia y Ecuador, lo que causó la formación de la litósfera oceánica del proto–Caribe. El rift fue abortado al sur de la deflexión de Huancabamba, pero se preservó como cuencas triásicas en Perú, el occidente de Argentina y Chile. Este rift triásico representa una separación temprana del occidente de Pangea y la atenuación de su margen podría ser el preludio de la separación completa de los continentes, ya que potencia el ascenso del manto y esto induce a la formación de una Gran Provincia Ígnea, debilitando la corteza en un régimen de extensión.


Palabras clave: andino, esfuerzo activo, deformación, mecanismo focal, velocidades GPS.


BABB                                                Back–arc basin basalts
CHUR                                              Chondritic uniform   reservoir 
HP/LT                                               High–pressure/low–temperature
ID–TIMS                                       Isotope   dilution   thermal   ionisation   mass   spectrometry 
ISMMB                                              Inner   Santa   Marta   Metamorphic   Belt 
LA–ICP–MS                          Laser ablation inductively   clouped   plasma   mass   spectrometry 
LA–MC–ICP–MS           Laser ablation multi –collector   inductively   coupled   plasma   mass   spectrometry
LILE                                                        Light –ion   lithophile   elements 
MP–HT                                           Medium pressure–high   temperature 
N–MORB                                    Normal   mid–ocean   ridge   basalts
REE                                                       Rare   earth   element 
SHRIMP                                       Sensitive   high–resolution   ion   microprobe
SIMS                                                     Secondary   ion   mass   spectrometry 


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