Washington, Sept 21 (ANI): The highest coastal mountain on Earth, Colombia's Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, has been on the move for a long, long time as indicated by a new study.
The Smithsonian research group revealed Santa Marta's 2,200-kilometer journey from northern Peru to its modern position on the Caribbean coast of Colombia during the past 170 million years.
Rock samples revealed their origins as remnants of extinct volcanoes and mountains that once existed but were later obliterated by powerful geologic forces.
Other studies revealed evidence of historic earthquakes and a large submarine canyon carved in the floor of the Caribbean Sea.
"We hope that this contribution will serve as a catalyst to accelerate the pace of geological research along this margin of South America," said German Ojeda at Colombia's Ecopetrol energy company.
"This integrated study represents a long-awaited contribution-particularly to the international scientific community who work in the circum-Caribbean-and fills a notorious gap in the picture of the region's geology," said Agustin Cardona at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
Their findings are published in the October 2010 special issue of the Journal of South American Earth Sciences. (ANI)