Ordovician Orogeny and Jurassic Low-Lying Orogen in the Santander Massif, Northern Andes (Colombia)

  • Carlos A. ZuluagaEmail author
  • Julian A. Lopez
Part of the Frontiers in Earth Sciences book series (FRONTIERS)


The metamorphic crystalline core of the Santander Massif recorded an early Paleozoic peak metamorphism that reached the granulite facies with temperatures above the wet pelite solidus and an overprinting Jurassic low-pressure metamorphism. The early Paleozoic metamorphism occurred during the Ordovician and produced greenschist to amphibolite facies rocks (Silgará Schist) in the outer and upper parts of the orogen and migmatitic granulite facies rocks (Bucaramanga Gneiss and Berlín Orthogneiss) as observed in the deepest exhumed parts of the orogen. The location of the highest recorded metamorphic PT conditions and the Sn+1 foliation geometry hints at a dome-like structure. The overprinting Jurassic low-pressure metamorphism affected middle to late Paleozoic sedimentary sequences and is related to a N-S Triassic-Jurassic magmatic belt of a low-lying orogen. The plutonic belt is composed mainly of granites and tonalites with a range in ages from 172 to 210 Ma and is interpreted to belong to a low-lying orogen (low-lying Triassic-Jurassic magmatic arc). Present structures in the massif imprint a geometry characterized by converging faults toward the core of the massif giving the appearance of compressional horsts similar to the known back thrust and shortcut thrust geometry. The most important structural features are the Bucaramanga fault toward the west and the Pamplona-Cubogón-Mercedes system toward the east; additionally, there are numerous structures with contrasting cinematic behavior. Some of those faults have been interpreted to represent reactivated and inverted normal faults. It is still unclear if these reactivated faults operated during the Triassic-Jurassic as the boundaries of extensional basins.


Colombia Early Paleozoic Metamorphism Jurassic Magmatic Arc Oblique Subduction 





Continental Arcs Potassic






Kübler crystallinity index


Initial Oceanic Arcs Potassic


Potassium feldspar


Late Oceanic Arcs Potassic


“Metasedimentitas de Guaca, La Virgen” 




Post-collisional Arcs Potassic




Pressure and temperature






Oldest recognized metamorphic foliation, can be followed by progressively younger foliations (Sn+2, Sn+3, etc.)


Syn-collisional granites




Volcanic arc granites


Whole rock



This work received financial support from Colciencias (grant number 036-2013) and Universidad Nacional de Colombia (grant numbers 17296 and 28170). We thank Fabio Cediel for his critical reading of a first version of the manuscript.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de GeocienciasUniversidad Nacional de ColombiaBogotáColombia

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