Mass balance of Neogene sediments in the Colombia basin relationship with the evolution of the Magdalena and Cauca River basins

Keywords: Mass balance, Colombia Basin, Magdalena River, Cauca River, Provenance analysis Balance de masa, Tasas de exhumación, Neógeno, Río Magdalena, Río Cauca


The Colombia basin contains large volumes of sediment accumulated during the last 17 My. The use of isochore maps, exploratory wells, micropaleontological and geochronological dates has enabled us to estimate the volumes of sediment and accumulation rates in this basin. The analysis of source of sediments and exhumation data from the Northern Andes of South America led to the definition of areas and thicknesses of material eroded during the Neogene - Quaternary, to obtain volumes or material eroded from the continent that can be correlated with sediment volumes accumulated in the Colombia Basin. The analyzed sediment volumes suggest that during the last 17 My ~72.06x1015 Tons accumulated in the Colombia Basin, while ~ 7.16x1013 Tons accumulated in the continental catchment areas. The sedimentation in the Colombian Basin has occurred at variable rates, with values ranging from 55 MTons/My to 295 MTons/My, with a peak of 803 MTons/My in the early Pleistocene (between 2.4 and 2.2 Ma). The evaluation between the total volumes of sediment accumulated in the offshore and onshore, suggests that in the continental part of the basin less than 4% of the total volume of eroded sediment is trapped and, therefore, the behavior of the accumulation rates calculated in the offshore directly reflect the relief evolution of South America’s Northern Andes. It seems, at large, that the lithospheric convergence rates and subduction angle (South America vs Nazca and Meso Atlantic opening) have controlled the regional exhumation of the Northern Andes, with the exception of the Pleistocene high sedimentation event, which seems to coincide with local events such as the collision of the Panama Arch against Western Antioquia. It may be concluded that thanks to this collision, drainage systems such as those of the Magdalena and Cauca rivers were modified, which resulted in the formation of the Magdalena Submarine Fan.

Author Biographies

Daniel Rincon Martinez, ECOPETROL-ICP

Profesional Integral de Innovación y TecDpto Desarroll y Transfer Tecno Upstream

Nestor Moreno Gómez, ECOPETROL-ICP

Geólogo  Depto de Áreas de Conocimiento Upstream

Pedro D. Gómez Gutierrez, ECOPETROL - ICP

Geólogo Integral Dpto de Áreas de Conocimiento Upstream


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How to Cite
López- Ramos, E., Rincon Martinez, D., Moreno Gómez, N., & Gómez Gutierrez, P. D. (2021). Mass balance of Neogene sediments in the Colombia basin relationship with the evolution of the Magdalena and Cauca River basins. CT&F - Ciencia, Tecnología Y Futuro, 11(1), 65–95.


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