Phanerozoic Metallogeny in the Colombian Andes: A Tectono-magmatic Analysis in Space and Time

  • Robert P. ShawEmail author
  • Hildebrando Leal-Mejía
  • Joan Carles Melgarejo i Draper
Part of the Frontiers in Earth Sciences book series (FRONTIERS)


The Colombian Andes are a highly fertile although little documented metallogenic province. Time-space analysis has identified numerous metallotects containing a wide variety of mineral deposits, framed within five broad metallogenic epochs, defined by important changes in the Phanerozoic tectonic and magmatic evolution of the region. Mineral deposits of both syngenetic and epigenetic origins range from the products of orthomagmatic cumulate segregation and those related to hydrothermal processes associated with oceanic and continental rifting and subduction-related volcanism/magmatism to accumulations related to uplift, basin development, chemical sedimentation and the amagmatic migration of mineral-rich brines. Important secondary and residual deposits are related to the complex weathering and erosion history of the Northern Andean region. Significant deposits and mineral districts were formed in the peri-cratonic or intra-oceanic realm and are allochthonous to the Colombian cordilleras, a result of the complex Meso-Cenozoic accretionary history of the region. Numerous metal deposits and mineral districts are described in detail, and the sympathetic relationship between metal occurrences in the Colombian Andes and the tectonic development of the region as a whole is demonstrated.

Despite the wide range of observed tectonic settings and deposit types, the Colombian Andes are highlighted as a Au-rich province. The close temporal and spatial affinity between hypogene Au mineralization of numerous styles and mantle-derived, metaluminous, tholeiitic and calc-alkaline (magnesian, calcic through alkali-calcic) plutonic and hypabyssal porphyritic granitoids (and their coeval volcanic equivalents), of Carboniferous, Jurassic, mid-late Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, latest Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene and even Recent age, is documented. Beyond tectono-magmatic setting of mineralization sensu lato, the nature, composition and tectonic architecture of the basement complex(es) which host individual granitoid suites and their associated mineral occurrences provided important controls upon the localization of mineral districts.


Colombia Metallogeny Time-space analysis Mineral districts Gold Copper Pluton-related Porphyry Epithermal Tectonic reconstruction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert P. Shaw
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hildebrando Leal-Mejía
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joan Carles Melgarejo i Draper
    • 1
  1. 1.Departament de Mineralogia, Petrologia i Geologia Aplicada, Facultat de Ciències de la TerraUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU)The University of British Columbia (UBC)VancouverCanada

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