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Coastal and Marine Geology Program > St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Coasts of Colombia

Coasts of Colombia

Coasts of Colombia
Pacific Coast:
Introduction
Serranía del Baudó (Baudó Range)
Cabo Corrientes-
Togoromá
San Juan River Delta
Málaga Bay - Buenaventura Bay
Buenaventura Bay - Guapi
Patía River Delta
Tumaco Bay
Mira River Delta
Gorgona Island
Malpelo Island
References
Caribbean Coast:
Introduction
Guajira Peninsula Coast
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Coast
Magdalena River delta and Santa Marta lagoon complex
Barranquilla - Cartagena coast
Southern Caribbean coast
Gulf of Urabá
References
Project Contact:
Robert Morton

Caribbean Coast: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Coast

South of the Guajira Peninsula, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta massif is the highest coastal mountain in the world, reaching 5800 m at Pico Bolívar, 60 km from the coastline (Fig. 2). It is composed of Cretaceous metamorphic rocks (predominantly schists and gneisses) and quartzdioritic intrusives of Tertiary age. The Quaternary of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is mainly represented by colluvial-alluvial valley fill and by recent beach deposits.

The coastlines of the northwestern part of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta are indented, reflecting the alternation of rocky headlands and deep, NNW trending tectonically controlled bays (Fig. 6). The headlands are typically 100 to 150-m-high plunging cliffs cut into schists and granites, whereas the embayments front alluvial valley deposits. The bay shores are typically steep, reflective beaches composed of very coarse sand to granules eroded from adjacent cliffs and alluvial deposits. Wide pocket beaches and tombolos are common along sectors with abundant rocky erosional remnants and stacks (Fig. 7).

Landsat image of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Figure 6. Landsat image of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Coastlines between B and C are characterized by narrow beaches at the bases of cliffs cut into colluvium, and by small protruding deltas. Between A and B, headlands alternate with structurally controlled bays. PB: Pico Bolívar, 5800 m high; SM: City of Santa Marta; SML: Santa Marta lagoon. Reproduced by permission of Invemar.

Panorama of Cañaverales Bay showing coarse sand, highly reflective beaches, tombolos, and rocky northwest coastline.
Figure 7. Panorama of Cañaverales Bay showing coarse sand, highly reflective beaches, tombolos, and rocky NW coastline. View to the south. Photo by I. Correa.

Coastal and Marine Geology Program > St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Coasts of Colombia

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