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Geo-Social Mystique: Origins of the Mystery Rock of Guatapé in Colombia

Saturday, February 25, 2017 11:41
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The Rock of Guatapé (El Peñon de Guatapé), Colombia.

In the Colombian department of Antioquia between the towns of Guatapé and El Peñol there is an enormous monolith which is called the El Peñón de Guatapé. It is also called the Rock of Guatapé or the Rock of Peñol – depending on which town the speaker is from. The monolith stands out in the landscape surrounded mostly be grassy plains and lakes. The stone was worshiped by the Tahamies who lived in the area before the arrival of the Spaniards. It is uncertain what the rock is, or how it formed, but it is very smooth and most likely part of a granitic pluton that was uplifted during the formation of the Cordillera Occidental mountain range in Colombia.

Features of the Rock of Guatapé and Local Geological History

The rock is 656 feet or 200 meters tall and is mainly composed of quartz, feldspar, and mica minerals. It is described as weighing about 10 million tons, though this may not be an exact estimation. The rock itself is about 70 million years old. The region surrounding the rock has a varied geological history. During the early Mesozoic Era, about 251 to 145 million years ago, most of Colombia was underwater – as evidenced by marine sedimentary deposits that date to that time.

El Peñón de Guatapé.

El Peñón de Guatapé. Source: Remi/CC BY NC SA 2.0 – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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