Field Trip 3

Late Cretaceous to Cenozoic evolution of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and surrounding onshore/offshore basins



Agustín Cardona Ph.D.
Camilo Montes Ph.D. 
Victor Ramirez, MSc, and
Germán Bayona, Ph.D. 

September 29th to October 1st. 
Starts: Santa Marta airport, 10 am
Ends: Valledupar airport, 4 pm 

ACGGP members: Regístrese Aquí
3 million pesos (U$ 1070 USD).  

ACGGP non-members: Regístrese Aquí
3.2 million pesos (U$ 1140 USD).  

Taxes of IVA 16% are not included
* Airplane tickets no included 

Night of 29: Eco-hotel Playa Las Marías in the Palomino area

Night of 30: Waya Guajira Hotel
near Cerrejón coal mine


The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, earth tallest coastal mountain, it is an isolated Andean range surrounded by sedimentary basins whose Cretaceous to Neogene sedimentary record differ among them.  To explore these differences and the impact in the hydrocarbon exploration activities, this 3-days field trip will explore a comprehensive analysis of the tectonic and hydrocarbon evolution of northern South America and the Caribbean region.  Stops will include key exposures of the Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleogene and Neogene strata that record the extensional, compressional and transtensional tectonism that affected both the orogen and surrounding basins.  An updated review of its stratigraphy, sedimentary petrology, chronology and structural peculiarities including discussion on specific seismic and well data from the offshore region will provide a critical review of the paleogeographic and hydrocarbon habitat of each of these basins and its record of the Caribbean tectonics. 

The proposed itinerary will take us from the collisional margin into the less deformed sedimentary basins on the continental plate.  

Day 1: review of extremely deformed sedimentary strata formed in the South American margin, the record of accreted oceanic remnants in the margin, and how plutonic rocks dates the end of collision and metamorphism at 50 Ma.  We will discuss the role of the first collision with the Caribbean front in controlling the character and age of the older preserved basins, and how the Santa Massif become a potential source area for all the basins around since Paleocene.  Timing of formation and filling of the adjacent lower Magdalena basin will be discussed.

Day 2: evidences of Oca Fault activity, associated deposits of fault activity and its paleogeographic meaning for Baja Guajira and offshore basins.  Discussion on the origin of this basins and their relation with oblique Caribbean convergence will be complement by reviewing seismic and well information. In the afternoon, we will visit the Paleogene record of the Cesar-Ranchería basin near Cerrejon Mine.  A review and discussion on the stratigraphy, basin formation mechanism in the Paleogene and the subsequent Eocene to Oligocene basin inversion of the Perija and Rancheria basins, as well as comparison on the Eocene record of major reservoir units in northern South America.

Day 3: Mesozoic stratigraphic record including the transition from volcanic dominated extensional and continental environments towards the Early Cretaceous marine invasion and its associated sedimentary record including accumulation of La Luna Formation, the main source rock in northern South American basins.  We will evaluate the laterally continuity of this unit with the Caribbean basins, and discuss the data with observations made in the first two days.