Paipa-Iza volcanic complex

Paipa-Iza volcanic complex - Colombia - Iza Domes - View from east.jpg

The Paipa–Iza volcanic complex is a volcanic field of Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene age on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense in the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes. It is the northernmost volcanic complex of the Andean Volcanic Belt with Fueguino in Tierra del Fuego, Chile, at the opposite end of the Andean mountain belt.

The complex, comprising mainly felsic extrusive volcanic rocks as rhyolites, also is the only confirmed volcanic province in the Eastern Ranges, with traces of probably contemporaneous explosive volcanic activity in the vicinity of Guatavita, Cundinamarca.

The Paipa-Iza volcanic field is important as a touristic site with thermal baths in both Paipa and Iza and is being studied for the potential of geothermal energy production and for the extraction of uranium in the area.


The names Paipa and Iza originate in Muysccubun, the language of the indigenous Muisca, who inhabited the Altiplano Cundiboyacense before the Spanish conquest. Paipa was the name of a cacique who served under cacique Tundama of Duitama and Iza means "place of healing".[1]


Paipa-Iza volcanic complex is located in the Altiplano Cundiboyacense
Paipa and Iza on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense

The Paipa–Iza volcanic complex is located in the northern part of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense at altitudes between 2,500 and 2,770 metres (8,200 and 9,090 ft). The northwestern part of the complex is situated in the municipality Paipa and the southeastern part in Iza, both belonging to the department of Boyacá.


Regional geology


Cretaceous stratigraphy of the central Colombian Eastern Ranges
Age Paleomap VMM Guaduas-Vélez W Emerald Belt Villeta anticlinal Chiquinquirá-
Altiplano Cundiboyacense El Cocuy
Maastrichtian Blakey 065Ma - COL.jpg Umir Fm. Córdoba Fm. Seca Fm. eroded Guadalupe Gp. Colón-Mito Juan Fm.
Umir Fm.
Campanian Córdoba Fm.
Oliní Gp.
Santonian La Luna Fm. Cimarrona Fm. - La Tabla Fm. La Luna Fm.
Coniacian Oliní Gp.
Villeta Gp
Conejo Fm. Chipaque Fm.
Güagüaquí Gp
Loma Gorda Fm. undefined La Frontera Fm.
Turonian Blakey 090Ma - COL.jpg Hondita Fm. La Frontera Fm. Otanche Fm.
Cenomanian Simití Fm. hiatus La Corona Gb. Simijaca Fm. Capacho Fm.
Pacho Fm. Hiló Fm. - Pacho Fm. Churuvita Fm. Une Fm. Aguardiente Fm.
Albian Blakey 105Ma - COL.jpg Hiló Fm. Chiquinquirá Sst. Tibasosa Fm. Une Fm.
Tablazo Fm. Tablazo Fm. Capotes Fm. - La Palma Fm. - Simití Fm. Simití Fm. Tibú-Mercedes Fm.
Aptian Capotes Fm. Socotá Fm. - El Peñón Fm. Paja Fm. Fómeque Fm.
Paja Fm. Paja Fm. El Peñón Fm. Trincheras Fm. Río Negro Fm.
La Naveta Fm.
Barremian Blakey 120Ma - COL.jpg
Hauterivian Muzo Fm.
Cáqueza Gp
Las Juntas Fm.
Rosablanca Fm. Ritoque Fm.
Valanginian Ritoque Fm. Furatena Fm. Útica Fm. - Murca Fm. Rosablanca Fm. Girón Fm. Macanal Fm.
Rosablanca Fm.
Berriasian Blakey 150Ma - COL.jpg Cumbre Fm. Cumbre Fm. Los Medios Fm. Guavio Fm.
Tambor Fm. Arcabuco Fm. Cumbre Fm.

Paipa–Iza volcanic complex

Rhyolite from Holcim dome, Iza

The complex was active from the late Pliocene, around 2.7 Ma, until the earliest Pleistocene, around 2.3 Ma.[2][3][4][5]

The complex at Iza consists of two domes; Domo Holcim with 0.67 square kilometres (7,200,000 sq ft) and Domo Los Sauces 0.12 square kilometres (30 acres) in size. They consist of porhyritic rhyolites with sanidine and plagioclase as dominant mineral groups and abundant xenoliths of sedimentary rock and in minor quantities volcanic or metamorphic fragments. The overall rock composition is very felsic and comprises biotites and amphiboles as opaque minerals.[6]

Geothermal energy

The complex is studied for the potential of geothermal energy production.[7][8][9]


The complex is studied for the potential of uranium mining.[10][11]


  1. ^ (in Spanish) Etymology Municipalities Boyacá
  2. ^ Jaramillo et al., 2005
  3. ^ Monsalve et al., 2011
  4. ^ Romero & Rincón, 1990
  5. ^ Vesga & Jaramillo, 2009
  6. ^ Monsalve et al., 2011, p.124
  7. ^ Alfaro et al., 2010
  8. ^ Mejía et al., 2014
  9. ^ Moyano & Vallejo, 2015
  10. ^ González Oviedo, 2009a
  11. ^ González Oviedo, 2009b






  • Renzoni, Giancarlo, and Humberto Rosas. 2009. Plancha 171 - Duitama - 1:100,000, 1. INGEOMINAS. Accessed 2017-06-06.
  • Renzoni, Giancarlo; Humberto Rosas, and Fernando Etayo Serna. 1998. Plancha 191 - Tunja - 1:100,000, 1. INGEOMINAS. Accessed 2017-06-06.
  • Velandia, Francisco, and Héctor Cepeda. 2005. Planchas 171 & 191 - Geología sector del sur del municipio de Paipa (Boyacá) - 1:25,000. INGEOMINAS.

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