Catedral de Sal—underground church in an active salt mine

My last post presented evidence that Colombia's Eastern Cordillera was covered by a shallow sea during the Cretaceous Period: This post presents more evidence for an oceanic setting—thick salt layers that were deposited in a shallow sea where high rates of evaporation caused water to evaporate and salt crystals to build up many layers over time. Zipaquirá salt mine...
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Marine fossils in Colombia’s Eastern Cordillera

Our Colombian trip ended in Bogotá, in the Eastern Cordillera. The active volcanoes associated with the offshore subduction zone are farther west, in the Central Cordillera. For maps of the plate tectonic setting, see my first Colombian post: The landward position of the Eastern Cordillera, east of the active volcanoes, is a region geologists refer to as the back-arc—that...
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Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta: Earth’s highest coastal mountain

My friend Maria met me in Medellín, and from there we flew north to Santa Marta, located on the Caribbean coast. Santa Marta was founded in 1525, and is the oldest surviving Spanish settlement in Colombia. Prior to the Spanish conquest, the native Tayrona people had lived in the region for thousands of years. In a story common throughout the...
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Medellín: Colombian city with a notorious history

Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia with about 4 million people. It is situated at 1,500 m (4900 ft) elevation, which in equatorial latitudes (it's at 6°N) is the altitude for an ”eternal spring” climate. Not too hot, not too cold—it's just right! My first post explained the tectonic setting of Columbia: In this post, I'll focus...
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Bienvenidos a Colombia: welcome to the northwest corner of South America

In my continuing quest to learn more about South America’s geology, culture and history, I traveled for a month (mid February–mid March) in Colombia, located in the northwestern corner of South America. Colombia is at the northern end of the Andes, the longest mountain range on our planet. It is the only South American country with coasts on both the...
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About the Blogger

Karen (here with Mt. Shasta in background) is a geology professor emerita who aims to provide a "pocket geologist" for world travelers. Follow the blog to explore the landscapes of our planet and figure out what causes them to look the way they do.

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