North Andes Plate

The North Andes Plate is a small tectonic plate located in the northern Andes. It is squeezed between the faster moving South American Plate and the Nazca Plate. Due to the subduction of the Nazca Plate this area is very prone to volcanic and seismic activity.

North Andes Plate
The North Andes Plate
FeaturesColombia, Venezuela
1Relative to the African Plate


  • Bird, P. (2003) An updated digital model of plate boundaries, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 4(3), 1027, doi:10.1029/2001GC000252. [1]
1868 Ecuador earthquakes

The 1868 Ecuador earthquakes occurred at 19:30 UTC on August 15 and 06:30 UTC on 16 August 1868. They caused severe damage in the northeastern part of Ecuador and in southwestern Colombia. They had an estimated magnitude of 6.3 and 6.7 and together caused up to 70,000 casualties. The earthquake of 15 August occurred near El Ángel, Carchi Province, close to the border with Colombia, while that of August 16 occurred near Ibarra in Imbabura Province. Reports of these earthquakes are often confused with the effects of the earthquake of 13 August at Arica.

1906 Ecuador–Colombia earthquake

The 1906 Ecuador–Colombia earthquake occurred at 15:36 UTC on January 31, off the coast of Ecuador, near Esmeraldas. The earthquake had a moment magnitude of 8.8 and triggered a destructive tsunami that caused at least 500 casualties on the coast of Colombia.

1958 Ecuador–Colombia earthquake

The 1958 Ecuador–Colombia earthquake struck the coastal regions of Ecuador and Colombia on January 19 with a surface wave magnitude of 7.6 at 9:07 local time. Approximately 30 percent of Esmeraldas (Ecuador) was destroyed, including the children's department of the hospital, where three children died. In all, 111 persons died and 45 were injured as a result of the earthquake. Water mains were broken and power transmission lines were damaged. The Esmeraldas-Quito highway collapsed at many places. Many other roads of the country were made impassable by cracks and fallen trees. According to press reports, a landslide from the slopes of the Andes at Panado village buried a hundred people. The earthquake was destructive in the cities on the northern coast of the country and was strong from Latacunga to Quito, Ibarra and Tulcán. It was felt at Guayaquil.

1970 Colombia earthquake

The 1970 Colombia earthquake occurred in Colombia on July 31.

1979 Tumaco earthquake

The 1979 Tumaco earthquake occurred at 02:59 local time on 12 December with a moment magnitude of 8.2 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). The epicenter was just offshore from the border between Ecuador and Colombia, near the port city of Tumaco. It triggered a major tsunami, which was responsible for most of the estimated 300–600 deaths. The hardest hit area was Colombia's Nariño Department.

1983 Popayán earthquake

The 1983 Popayán earthquake (Spanish: El Terremoto de Popayán) occurred on 31 March in Popayán, Colombia. It had a magnitude of at least 5.5 with an epicenter south west of Popayán at a depth of 12–15 kilometers (7.5–9.3 mi). The earthquake killed 267 people and resulted in the passing of new laws requiring earthquake resistant building materials in zones at risk of tremors.

1994 Páez River earthquake

The 1994 Páez River earthquake occurred on June 6 with a moment magnitude of 6.8 at a depth of 12 km (7.5 mi). The event, which is also known as the Páez River disaster, included subsequent landslides and mudslides that destroyed the small town of Páez, located on the foothills of the Central Ranges of the Andes in Cauca in south-western Colombia.[1] It was estimated that 1,100 people, mostly from the Páez, were killed in some 15 settlements on the Páez River basin, Cauca and Huila departments of which the eponymous town of Páez suffered 50% of the death toll.[2][3] In response to the disaster, the government created the Nasa Kiwe Corporation to bring relief to the area, and begin the reconstruction of the affected areas.

1999 Armenia, Colombia earthquake

The 1999 Armenia, Colombia earthquake occurred on 25 January at 13:19 with an epicenter 25 miles (40 km) west south west of Ibagué, Colombia. The shock heavily affected the city of Armenia, Colombia in the Quindío department, and about 18 other towns and 28 additional villages in the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis region departments, and to a lesser degree, the cities of Pereira and Manizales. The earthquake had a magnitude of 6.2 on the moment magnitude scale and was the strongest earthquake to strike Colombia for 16 years.

2008 El Calvario earthquake

The 2008 El Calvario earthquake occurred in central Colombia on 24 May and measured 5.9 on the moment magnitude scale. The earthquake occurred at 2:20:43 p.m. (19:20:43 UTC) at the epicenter (El Calvario, Meta). The depth was 35 km; it was superficial according to an Ingeominas report. The epicenter was located 35 km from Villavicencio and 50 km from Bogotá. There were 11 confirmed fatalities and 4,181 injured, mostly in the towns of Puente Quetame, Fosca, Fomeque and Guayabetal in Cundinamarca, and in El Calvario, Meta.A M4 foreshock occurred at 12:08 local time (17:08 UTC) near San Juanito, in the Meta Central Department, at a depth of 30 km.

The town of Quetame, Cundinamarca was the most affected. Several houses collapsed in this small town of 6,500 inhabitants. The reconstruction of the affected structures cost 10 million USD (exchange rate COP 2000). In Bogotá, a partial collapse of the building of "Lotería de Bogotá" was reported, with no major consequences. The emergency network in the Capital District was put on maximum alert. A collapse of fixed phone lines and cell phones occurred, due to the great number of people calling to find out about their relatives. The quake was also felt in cities as far away as Medellín and Bucaramanga.

In Guayabetal, Meta, civil defense workers could only reach the town from Villavicencio using motorcycles, because fallen buildings blocked cars from passing. The workers found two people dead and another 26 people trapped in a bus. Now there is a bypass to that point coming from Villavicencio, because 2 km of Highway 48 was closed due to fallen debris.

Boconó Fault

The Boconó Fault is a complex of geological fault located in the Eastern Ranges of northeastern Colombia and the Mérida Andes of northwestern Venezuela. The fault has a NE-SW orientation. Boconó Fault is a strike-slip fault and has a dextral relative movement. The fault extends over a length of 500 kilometres (310 mi). The fault, with a slip rate ranging from 4.3 to 6.1 millimetres (0.17 to 0.24 in) per year, has been active since the Early Holocene and earthquakes of 1610 and 1894 are associated with the Boconó Fault.

Coiba Plate

The Coiba Plate is a small tectonic plate (a microplate) located off the coasts south of Panama and northwestern Colombia. It is named after Coiba, the largest island of Central America, just north of the plate offshore southern Panama. It is bounded on the west by the Cocos Plate, on the south by the Malpelo Plate, on the east by the North Andes Plate, and on the north by the Panama Plate. This microplate was previously assumed to be part of the Nazca Plate, forming the northeastern tongue of the Nazca Plate together with the Malpelo Plate. Bordering the Coiba Plate on the east are the north-south striking Bahía Solano Fault and east of that, the Serranía de Baudó, an isolated mountain chain in northwestern Chocó, Colombia.

List of earthquakes in Colombia

This is a list of earthquakes in Colombia. Colombia is a seismically active country and has a large seismic risk in many areas of its territory due to its location at the boundaries of the Malpelo, Panama, Caribbean, North Andes (where most earthquakes occurred) and South American Plates along the Pacific Ring of Fire. The southeastern and extreme eastern portions of Colombia are not as seismically active as the rest of the country.

The first historically registered earthquake felt in Colombia occurred on September 11, 1530, around 10:00 AM, probably with the epicentre near Cumaná, Venezuela. The earthquake was documented by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés in his work La Historia general de las Indias and by friar Bartolomé de las Casas in his book Historia de Las Indias. The first documented earthquake with its epicentre in present-day Colombia territory took place in 1566, with the epicentre estimated around Santander in the department of Cauca. Other important historical earthquakes have been documented by Luis Vargas Jurado, from 1703 until 1764 and Santiago Pérez Valencia between 1785 and 1843.The most devastating earthquake for Colombia happened on August 15 and 16, 1868 off the coast of Ecuador, leading to approximately 70,000 fatalities. The strongest earthquake, with an estimated moment magnitude of 8.8 also happened offshore Ecuador in 1906. Other major earthquakes were the 1875 Cúcuta earthquake with around 10,000 deaths and the 1999 Armenia earthquake with an intensity of X. The deepest registered earthquake happened in the department of Amazonas in 1970 at an estimated depth of almost 645 kilometres (2,116,000 ft). The 1785 Viceroyalty of New Granada earthquake sparked the birth of journalism in Colombia, initiated by Manuel del Socorro Rodríguez, six years after the publication of the Aviso del Terremoto about the earthquake with its epicentre in La Calera, Cundinamarca.

The main seismically active zone is the subduction zone of the Malpelo, formerly Nazca, Plate with strong earthquakes in 1906, 1947, 1958 and 1979. The most active onshore fault systems are the 674 kilometres (419 mi) Bucaramanga-Santa Marta Fault with earthquakes frequently occurring at the Bucaramanga Nest around Aratoca, Santander, the 697.4 kilometres (433.3 mi) Romeral Fault System in the Central Ranges (Popayán 1983 and Armenia 1999) and the 921.4 kilometres (572.5 mi) long Eastern Frontal Fault System in the Eastern Ranges. Other strong earthquakes are associated with the Murindó (Mw 7.2, 1992), Irlanda (Mw 6.8, 1994), Tucurá (Mw 6.7, 1952), Bahía Solano (Mw 6.5, 1970), and Mutatá Faults (Mw 6.0, 2016).

List of tectonic plates

This is a list of tectonic plates on the Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around 100 km (62 mi) thick and consist of two principal types of material: oceanic crust (also called sima from silicon and magnesium) and continental crust (sial from silicon and aluminium). The composition of the two types of crust differs markedly, with mafic basaltic rocks dominating oceanic crust, while continental crust consists principally of lower-density felsic granitic rocks.

Malpelo Plate

The Malpelo Plate is a small tectonic plate (a microplate) located off the coasts west of Ecuador and Colombia. It is the 57th plate to be identified. It is named after Malpelo Island, the only emerged part of the plate. It is bounded on the west by the Cocos Plate, on the south by the Nazca Plate, on the east by the North Andes Plate, and on the north by the Coiba Plate, separated by the Coiba Transform Fault (CTF). This microplate was previously assumed to be part of the Nazca Plate. The Malpelo Plate borders three major faults of Pacific Colombia, the north to south striking Bahía Solano Fault in the north and the Naya-Micay and Remolino-El Charco Faults in the south.

Oca-Ancón Fault System

The Oca-Ancón Fault System (Spanish: Falla Oca-Ancón) is a complex of geological faults located in the northeastern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela near the Caribbean Sea. The fault system is of right-lateral strike-slip type and extends for an approximate length of 830 km (520 mi). The Oca-Ancón Fault System is part of the diffuse boundary between the Caribbean Plate and the South American Plate. The movement rate of the Oca-Ancón Fault System is estimated at 2 millimetres (0.079 in) each year, more than most Venezuelan faults.

Panama Plate

The Panama Plate is a small tectonic plate sandwiched between the Cocos Plate and Nazca Plate to the south and the Caribbean Plate to the north. Most of its borders are convergent boundaries including a subduction zone to the west. It consists, for the most part, of the nations of Panama and Costa Rica.

Romeral Fault System

The Romeral Fault System (Spanish: Sistema de Fallas (de) Romeral) is a megaregional system of major parallel and anastomosing faults in the Central Ranges of the Colombian Andes and the Cauca, Amagá, and Sinú-San Jacinto Basins. The system spans across ten departments of Colombia, from northeast to south Bolívar, Sucre, Córdoba, Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío, Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño. The fault zone extends into Ecuador where it is known as the Peltetec Fault System. The in detail described part of the Romeral Fault System south of Córdoba has a total length of 697.4 kilometres (433.3 mi) with a cumulative length of 1,787.9 kilometres (1,110.9 mi) and runs along an average north to south strike of 017.6 ± 16, cross-cutting the central-western portion of Colombia.

The fault system, active during more than 200 million years from the Triassic to recent, represents the ancient western continental margin of northwestern South America and forms the boundary between obducted oceanic crust to the west of the fault zone and continental crust to the east. The Romeral Fault System is situated at the intersection of five tectonic plates; the Caribbean Plate in the north, the Panama, Coiba and Malpelo Plates, formerly considered part of the Nazca Plate to the west and the North Andes Plate where the fault system is located. The Romeral Fault System forms the structural boundary between the Western and Central Ranges of the Colombian Andes. The tectonic depression produced by the fault zone in the central and southern portion is filled by the valley of the Cauca River, the second-most important fluvial artery of Colombia after the Magdalena River.

The major active volcanoes of Colombia, such as Galeras and Romeral are underlain by the Romeral Fault System. Segments of the fault zone are active, producing many minor and occasional devastating earthquakes, such as the 1983 earthquake in Popayán, Cauca and the 1999 Armenia earthquake, with a combined total of more than 2000 casualties. The capitals of Sucre (Sincelejo), Antioquia (Medellín), Caldas (Manizales), Quindío (Armenia), Risaralda (Pereira), Valle del Cauca (Cali), Cauca (Popayán) and Nariño (Pasto) are all situated near or on top of the fault zone.

Seven Summits

The Seven Summits are the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. Climbing to the summit of all of them is regarded as a mountaineering challenge, first achieved on 30 April 1985 by Richard Bass. The Seven Summits achievement has become noted as an exploration and mountaineering accomplishment.

South American Plate

The South American Plate is a major tectonic plate which includes the continent of South America as well as a sizable region of the Atlantic Ocean seabed extending eastward to the African Plate, with which it forms the southern part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

The easterly edge is a divergent boundary with the African Plate; the southerly edge is a complex boundary with the Antarctic Plate, the Scotia Plate, and the Sandwich Plate; the westerly edge is a convergent boundary with the subducting Nazca Plate; and the northerly edge is a boundary with the Caribbean Plate and the oceanic crust of the North American Plate. At the Chile Triple Junction, near the west coast of the Taitao–Tres Montes Peninsula, an oceanic ridge known as the Chile Rise is actively subducting under the South American Plate.

Geological research suggests that the South American Plate is moving westward away from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: "Parts of the plate boundaries consisting of alternations of relatively short transform fault and spreading ridge segments are represented by a boundary following the general trend." As a result, the eastward-moving and more dense Nazca Plate is subducting under the western edge of the South American Plate, along the continent's Pacific coast, at a rate of 77 mm (3.0 in) per year. The collision of these two plates is responsible for lifting the massive Andes Mountains and for creating the numerous volcanoes which are strewn throughout them.

Tectonic plates
fault systems
Other faults


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