Paleogene Magmatism of the Maracaibo Block and Its Tectonic Significance

  • José F. Duque-TrujilloEmail author
  • Teresa Orozco-Esquivel
  • Carlos Javier Sánchez
  • Andrés L. Cárdenas-Rozo
Part of the Frontiers in Earth Sciences book series (FRONTIERS)


One of the main northern South American geological conundrums has been to establish the tectonic relationship between Caribbean and South American plates during Mesozoic and Cenozoic times. Based on the petrogenetic interpretation of magmatic bodies within the Maracaibo block, we suggest an interplay between subduction and overthrusting tectonics in the northern part of South America during the Cenozoic. Our data show that the subduction of the Caribbean Plate beneath the South American Plate started around 65 million years ago, as is evidenced by the presence of trondhjemitic intrusions in the Santa Marta Province. Then, after a ca. 5-million-year magmatic gap, the evolution of this subduction system allowed the formation of a magmatic arc represented by the calc-alkaline Santa Marta Batholith (~56–49 Ma) and Parashi Pluton (51–47 Ma). For the interval between 50 and 25 million years, our data and compiled data point to a reduction in the tectonic activity, which is supported by relatively slow rates of cooling and uplifting in the Maracaibo block. Finally, for the period since the early Miocene, the reported uplift data, subsidence rates, and stratigraphic discordances indicate a differential uplift of the Maracaibo block, decreasing from the northwestern tip (Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta) toward the southeast (Merida Andes) and suggesting that this tectonic “reactivation” is the result of dominant overthrusting tectonics.


Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Caribbean Plate Subduction Santa Marta Batholith Trondhjemite 



This research was partially supported by IGCP, geophysics commission graduate scholarship program (2008) to Duque-Trujillo, J.; Project #2289 from Fundación para la promoción de la Investigación y la Tecnología del Banco de la Republica (BANREP), and PAPIIT project #IN-114508. Authors would like to thank Susana María Hoyos Muñoz for assistance in the editing with text and figure edition.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • José F. Duque-Trujillo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Teresa Orozco-Esquivel
    • 2
  • Carlos Javier Sánchez
    • 1
  • Andrés L. Cárdenas-Rozo
    • 1
  1. 1.Earth Sciences DepartmentEAFIT UniversityMedellínColombia
  2. 2.Centro de GeocienciasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoQuerétaroMexico

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