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Abstract: Structure of the Cordillera Oriental of Colombia: A Doubly-vergent Thrust Belt, or the Surface Expression of the Transpressive Southern Caribbean Plate Boundary?

MONTES, CAMILO, and ROBERT D. HATCHER, JR., Environmental Sciences Division, Bldg. 1509, MS-6400, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831., Department of Geological Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxviille, TN 3799-1410


Two contrasting components of Cenozoic deformation interact in the northernmost Andes of northwestern South America: 1) A dextral strike-slip component related to the relative east to northeast motion of the Caribbean plate relative to the South American continent, and 2) an east-west component due to right-angle convergence between the South American and Nazca plates. The Cordillera Oriental of Colombia, spanning both domains, must therefore record the transition from the indistinct southern Caribbean plate boundary to northern Andean tectonic styles. Despite its present and paleogeographic setting, all kinematic reconstructions of the Cordillera Oriental have ignored the possibility of transpressional tectonics. Studies explaining the evolution of the Cordillera in light of the interaction between contrasting Caribbean to Andean structural styles are entirely missing from the literature of the Cordillera Oriental.