The formation of La Piedra Del Peñol, Colombia

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La Piedra Del Peñol Columbia
Figure 1. Stairway to the top of La Piedra Del Peñol, aka The Rock of Guatapé, Colombia (Photo Credit: Guatapé, Antioquia Department).

One thrill about being a geologist with Creation Ministries International is that people ask about amazing places all over the world. I get to ‘travel’ the globe with a purpose.

Someone asked today if I knew about La Piedra Del Peñol in Colombia. No, I didn’t. Have you heard of it? A quick Google search revealed it is an prominent monolith at the northern end of the Andes. Its top is 2,135 m above sea level (on the web there are different numbers cited for this), and it rises 220 m above the surrounding countryside. You can climb using some 650 stairs (see figure 1).

The Rock of Guatapé, as it is also known, is composed of granite, It was exposed when the surrounding landscape was eroded in the second ‘half’ of Noah’s Flood, as the continents uplifted, the ocean basins sank, and the floodwaters that initially covered the whole continent flowed across the area into the ocean.

From images on Google maps, Google Earth, and the internet, it can be seen that there are hills surrounding the rock that are of similar elevation to each other and to the rock (figure 2). In other words, there was a higher land surface that has been eroded out. The original land surface would have been carved flat earlier during the Flood when the waters covered the whole area. The large valleys that are eroded into that surface would have been eroded later in the Flood by the strong water currents flowing to the ocean in wide channels. This article on Inselbergs describes how these sorts of features were formed by the receding waters of Noah’s Flood.

Distant view of La Piedra Del Peñol and surrounding mountains
Figure 2. The hills surrounding the Rock of Guatapé have a similar elevation along their tops, and to the top of the rock. (Photo Credit: Jackson Groves,

The rock is part of a huge volume of granite, called a pluton, that formed in the first ‘half’ of the Flood. Energy released by the movements in the earth’s crust melted rock and the molten magma squeezed up into the overlying sediments, forming enormous underground ‘pools’ there. Then the magma cooled and crystallised as granite.

Geologists call these enormous movements in the earth’s crust “orogenies”. This article on Noah’s Flood the big picture explains these crustal convulsions and their relation to the formation of granites and other igneous rocks.

My preliminary surveillance of the web indicates that the Triassic and Jurassic rocks in this region are comprised of marine sedimentary deposits, indicating the area was under water. This fits the interpretation that they were deposited as the waters of Noah’s Flood were rising and nearing their peak. (For a preliminary interpretation see Figure 2 on this article.)

After these sediments were deposited, in the period labelled the Cretaceous, movements in the earth’s crust pushed up the mountain ranges along the west coast of South America. In this area the range is called the Cordillera Occidental, or the Western Cordillera, which is part the Andes. It is described as being pushed up because of the Nazca and South American plates colliding, which is quite reasonable. The movement of the plates would have been caused by the ocean basins beginning to sink and the continents beginning to lift up. Thus, the floodwaters began to drain. This crustal movement generated the molten magma which created a belt of granitic rocks alongside the edges of the Cordillera Occidental, of which the the Rock of Guatapé is just one small outcrop, relative to the whole.

It was a devastating time for all people on the earth during the Flood. In fact, no one survived the cataclysm except Noah and his family, Noah who found favour in the eyes of the Lord. I think the account of Noah’s Ark is a dramatic and sobering illustration of how we need to be somewhere safe when judgement comes upon the earth. I’m so glad that Jesus Christ is that safe place where we can be saved.