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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

Pacific Coast: Serranía del Baudó (Baudó Range)

The 250-km-long coastline of the Serranía del Baudó, between Punta Ardita and Cabo Corrientes (Fig. 3), is dominated by steep cliffs, up to 70 m high, cut into diabases and chert (Figs. 4 and 5). Cliffs alternate with small sandy to shingle and cobble pocket beaches that are located within the minor coastal indentations. Wide sandy beaches (Figs. 6 and 7) and sandy-muddy tidal flats front the major coastal embayments and river mouths. Small mangrove swamps are located landward of the beach and along the low courses of the main rivers, where tidal waters penetrate 0.5 to 1 km upstream from the shoreline.

Map showing geomorphic classification of the northern Pacific Coast of Colombia. Radar mosaic showing the Baudó Range coastline, north and south of Juradó.
Figure 3. (above left) Geomorphic classification of the northern Pacific Coast of Colombia. Modified from Correa (1996). [larger version]

Figure 4. (above right) Radar mosaic showing the Baudó Range coastline, north and south of Juradó. At the northwestern part of the image are steep plunging cliffs on a structurally controlled coastline (top left) and straight beaches backed by cliffs. To the south, coastline irregularities have been smoothed by the development of sandy barrier spits enclosing mangrove-vegetated tidal flats (M), backed by a paleo-seacliff. Reproduced by permission of Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi (IGAC) and INTERA Information Technologies (STAR-1 radar). [larger version]

Typical basaltic cliff coastline of the Baudó Range.
Figure 5. Typical basaltic cliff coastline of the Baudó Range. Photo by I. Correa.

The village of Juradó and mouth of the Juradó River.
Figure 6. The village of Juradó and mouth of the Juradó River. Islands consisting of freshwater swamps characterize the meandering lower river course (center bottom). To the north is an erosional rocky coast with pocket beaches and remnant stacks. Sporadic mass movements dam the upper river course and control the delivery of mud-enriched water to the littoral zone along the Serranía de Baudó region. Reproduced by permission of Diego Zapata.

Beaches near Juradó.
Figure 7. The beaches near Juradó are about 60 m wide and composed of medium to fine sand with high concentrations of heavy minerals. Photo by I. Correa.

The strong structural control on the coastal morphology of the Serranía del Baudó is exhibited well in the Bahía Solano-Bahía Utría zone, where the 8-km-long Utría Bay depression closely coincides with the Bahía Solano fault zone (Figs. 8, 9, 10). The fault is interpreted as a reverse fault with a slip rate of 0.2 to 1 mm/yr (París et al. 2000). The Bahía Solano village (Fig. 11) was partly destroyed and suffered local subsidence of 20-30 cm as a result of the September 26, 1970 earthquake (M 6.5), associated with the Bahía Solano fault (Ramirez 1970). Page and James (1981) reported at least three coastal subsidence events in the area during the last 800 years, probably associated with earthquakes of similar magnitude.

Recession of the Baudó cliff coast is negligible in most areas, but saprolite landslides and rock falls (Fig. 12) are common during heavy rain, and/or strong onshore winds and seismic events.

Radar image of Solano and Utría Bays.   Figure 8. (left) Radar image of Solano and Utría Bays, showing the strong structural control on the coastal morphology and the trace of the Bahía Solano reverse fault that crosses the bays. The preserved beach-ridge complex of El Valle (B.R.) is located on the west side of the fault, suggesting a tectonic component in its origin. Reproduced by permission of Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi (IGAC) and INTERA Information Technologies (STAR-1 radar). [larger version]

Figure 9.
(bottom right) Southern half of Bahía Utría. Line A-B shows the position of the bathymetric profile shown in 10. Photo by I. Correa. [larger version]
Southern half of Bahía Utría.

Bathymetric profile of the central part of the Utría Bay showing the submarine expression of the Utría fault trace, with two symmetrical ancient wave-erosion platforms cut into basaltic rocks.
Figure 10. Bathymetric profile of the central part of the Utría Bay showing the submarine expression of the Utría fault trace, with two symmetrical ancient wave-erosion platforms cut into basaltic rocks. Reproduced by permission of Universidad EAFIT.

Sandy-muddy tidal flat and sandy spit fronting the beaches of the city of Bahía Solano.
Figure 11. Sandy-muddy tidal flat and sandy spit fronting the beaches of the city of Bahía Solano. Note the wood walls (lower left) protecting against shore erosion. Photo by I. Correa.

Basalt saprolith erosion at the western flank of the Bahía Solano peninsula.
Figure 12. Basalt saprolith erosion at the western flank of the Bahía Solano peninsula. In most places along the Baudó Range erosion rates at the base of the rocky coast are negligible, but mass movements are common, especially during or after heavy rains and/or during strong onshore winds. Photos by I. Correa.

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

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