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Earth Sci. Res. J. Vol. 9, No. 2 (Dec. 2005): 73-84



Erika Cristina Jaramillo Giraldo1, Ximena Vega Manchola1

and Hugo Monsalve Jaramillo1

Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones de la Facultad de Ingeniera


(Research Center at University of Quindo)- CEIFI, Quimbaya Group

e-mail: - e-mail:


Se describe la metodologa usada para desarrollar campaas geofsicas de resistividad y gravimetra aplicadas
al subsuelo. Estos son mtodos totalmente indirectos cuyo propsito es determinar los contrastes de densidad
y resistividad en el subsuelo, para relacionarlas con los diferentes tipos de suelos en las reas de estudio,
localizadas al sur y norte de la ciudad de Armenia-Quindo (Puerto Espejo y Universidad del Quindo
respectivamente), para determinar la geometra de perles longitudinales basados en pozos geotcnicos
existentes los cuales solo proveen informacin unidimensional. La importancia del subsuelo es analizada
usando mtodos elctricos de resistividad y gravimetra en proyectos de ingeniera civil. Los factores ms
importantes que inuencian los cambios en la resistividad elctrica y valores gravimtricos para diferentes
materiales geolgicos tambin son analizados, as como los rangos de variacin de estos valores, dependiendo
de las condiciones climticas y la formacin de capas en cada rea de estudio.
Para la tomografa elctrica, se usa el arreglo electrdico Wenner-Schlumberger debido a su alta resolucin
vertical y horizontal. Para el mtodo gravimtrico, se usa la tcnica microgravimtrica porque permite
mayor detalle en capas superciales del subsuelo.
Los resultados obtenidos son presentados en perles elctricos y gravimtricos en Puerto Espejo y la
Universidad del Quindo, los cuales fueron tiles como parmetros de calibracin de los rangos de resistividad
y gravimetra para los tipos de suelos encontrados en estas reas de Colombia, dependiendo tambin de los
factores de humedad y temperatura. El anlisis y discusin de los resultados es lo que nalmente permite
obtener conclusiones, importante para la escogencia de mtodos de exploracin geofsica como una alternativa
para familiarizarse con las estructuras localizadas en el subsuelo.

Palabras clave: Gravimetra, tomografa elctrica, perles estratigrcos, abanico volcaniclstico,

escarpe, Armenia (Colombia).


The methodology used to develop resistivity and gravimetry geophysical surveying applied to the sub-surface
is described. These are totally indirect methods whose purpose is to determine the density and resistivity
(Manuscript received May 2005,
Paper accepted October 2005)

Erika Cristina Jaramillo Giraldo, Ximena Vega Manchola and Hugo Monsalve Jaramillo

contrasts in the sub-surface, in order to relate them with the different types of soils in the areas of study,
located South and North In Armenia-Quindo (Puerto espejo and University of Quindo respectively),
to determine the geometry of longitudinal proles based on existing geotechnical boreholes which only
provide unidimensional information.The importance of sub-surface is analyzed, using electric resistivity
and gravimetry methods in Civil Engineering projects. The most important factors inuencing the changes
in electric resistivity and gravimetry values for differerent geological materials are also analyzed, as well
as the ranges of variation of these values, depending on climate conditions and formation of layers in each
area of study.
For the electric tomography, the electrodic array Wenner-Schlumberger is used due to its high vertical and
horizontal resolution. For the gravimetric method, the microgravimetry technic is used because this allows
better detail in shallow layers of the sub-surface.
Results obtained are presented in electric and gravimetric proles in Puerto Espejo and University of
Quindo, which are useful as calibration parameters of resistivity and gravity ranges for the types of soils
found in these areas in Colombia, depending also on the humidity and temperature factors. The analysis
and discussion of results is what nally permits to obtain conclusions, important for choosing the methods
of geophysical exploration as an alternative to get familiar with the structures located in the sub-surface.

Key words: Gravimetry, electric tomography, stratigrac proles, volcaniclastic fan, scarp, Armenia

2005 ESRJ - Unibiblos

INTRODUCTION the surveying for the study of conditions for dams or

buildings foundations, or the level of soil saturation.
The city of Armenia, Colombia has been the location The objective of geolectric and gravimetric
of several studies (INGEOMINAS, 1999, Espinosa, prospection is to know the dimensions and depth
2000, Monsalve y Vargas, 2002) as a result of the of structures in the sub-surface, taking as reference
most recent earhquake in Quindo departament the resistivity and gravity data, obtained in the site
(25-01-1999, Mw=6.2). For this reason, scientists using different techniques. When geoelectric and
and investigators have tried to improve general gravimetric data are correctly analyzed with modern
knowledge in geophysical and geological aspects in methods and using the appropriate mathematical and
Quindo departament. The most recent interest for computational tools, they provide a cartography of
the understanding of the sub-surface in Armenia has gravity of the sub-surface, which permits to have a
been the Geophysical And Structural Modeling Of clearer idea of geometric characteristics of every
Urban Area and Surroundings in Armenia project, layer below.
which includes the present study, where the physical The methodoly used to obtain geophysical imaging of
methods of gravimetry and electric tomograpy are sub-surface using gravimetry and electric tomography
used, to obtain stratigraphic proles. applied to University of Quindo and Puerto Espejo, is
The geophysical surveying methods, among described in general. In the same way, we present the
which we can mention the electric resistivity and results obtained from the the analyses and discussions
gravimetry, measure a series of physical properties are presented regarding these results.
of objects or structures in the sub-surface, that make The present study finally considers the electric
them different from the surrounding site. tomography and gravimetry as tools, having a high
The exploration of these contrasts between the potential in the survey of sub-surface, allowing to
properties of diverse materials and the encasing rocks obtain stratigraphic proles in two dimensions that
is common in the exploitation of natural resources represent in a more exact way the real geometry of
(petroleum, underground water, minerals etc) and in the layers. This is done in a better form than with
prospection of support for Civil Engineering, just like currently available geotechnical methods.

Aplication of Gravimetry and Electric Tomography Methods to Obtain Stratigrac Proles:
Case Study at University of Quindo and Puerto Espejo Area, Armenia-Colombia

LOCATION microzonication of Armenia-Quindo project (AIS,

The area under study is specifically located at Figure 1 shows the location of the two zones under
University of Quindo and Puerto Espejo, located study and the soils that support them. Figure 2 shows
Northwest and Southwest in Armenia-Quindo the geotechnical boreholes in them.
Colombia respectively, areas that have relatively The geographycal coordinates of gravimetric and
at topographies. Inside each of these areas there is tomographic proles and the geotechnical boreholes
a geotechnical borehole, drilled during the seismic are shown in chart 1.


Location Puerto Espejo University of Quindo

N (m) 4 31 5.65 - 4 31 10.02 4 33 14.93 4 33 23.12

E (m) 72 42 44.36 - 72 42 29.40 72 39 43.75 72 39 30.85

N 4 31.296 4 33.466
Pto. medio
W 75 42.849 75 39.903

N (m) 4 31 7.22 4 33 22.25

E (m) 72 42 43.19 72 39 36.04

Figure 1. Location of tomographic and gravimetric proles at University of Quindo and in Puerto Espejo (modied from

Erika Cristina Jaramillo Giraldo, Ximena Vega Manchola and Hugo Monsalve Jaramillo

Figure 2. Boreholes P4 and P6 corresponding to Puerto Espejo and University of Quindo.

GEOLOGICAL SETTING Espinosa (in press), assigns this unit the name of
Quindo fan and makes a morphological difference
The outcrops in the study area are geological with others, concluding that its thickness is not con-
formations belonging to Cretaceous period (Arqua stant, reffering to an increase from the apex, associated
complex), Terciary period (fluvio volcanic and with distance to volcanic centers. Espinosas work
volcanic deposits) and Quaternary period (Quindo denes the terracing (see Figure 3) of Quindo and
fan). These are, residual and saprofit deposits, Pereira fans as a series of descending levels from the
coluvial deposits, pyroclastic fall deposits, alluvial apex to the distal part, for this reason, the Quindo
sediments, and recent uviotorrential sediments of fan is divided in three sub-groups named as proximal,
Quindo river. intermediate and distal fans, so that the closest fan to
The area of interest is located on a large volcano- the apex is encased in an older unit. In the same form,
sedimentary deposit, formed by alternation of py- the degree of incision in the oldest units (closest to the
roclastic ow deposits, laharic and uviotorrential, apex) is much bigger than that of recent units due to
alluvial and glacial materials in smaller proportion, its bigger exposition to alluvial erosion.
mostly covered by volcanic tuffs (ash, , lapilli and
volcanic dust), that covered a paleo-topography,
generating round and low grade hills, which are the
geographical shapes that characterize the region.
The materials forming the big volcanic-sedimentary
deposit come from the Central Cordillera, located
East and north- East of Quindo. These deposits are
mostly products of volcanic activity originated at
Nevado del Quindo, Santa Isabel, and Cerro Santa
Figure 3. Formation of fans, note the terracing between the
Rosa volcanoes (Gonzlez and Nuez, 1991).
most recent units (4 and 3) in respect to the oldest (1 and 2)
(Espinosa, in press).

Aplication of Gravimetry and Electric Tomography Methods to Obtain Stratigrac Proles:
Case Study at University of Quindo and Puerto Espejo Area, Armenia-Colombia

METHODOLOGY Local Type, for this reason the technique used was
Figure 4 shows the methodology used in gravimetric Relative gravity testing was done every 10m along
surveying. The objective of the study was to deter-
proles of about 500m in longitude, using a Worden
mine the contrast of densities and geometry (orienta-
gravimeter. The cycles were done in periods of less
tion and aproximate thickness) of sub-surface layers
for the zones of Puerto Espejo and University of than 2 hours and by the same surveyor, seeking to
Quindo. Its reach permitted to classify the study as minimize the level of human error.

Gravimetric Proles

Figure 4. Flow diagram for the construction of gravimetric proles.

Tomographic Proles

Figure 5. Flow diagrams for the construction of tomographic proles.

Erika Cristina Jaramillo Giraldo, Ximena Vega Manchola and Hugo Monsalve Jaramillo

The Bouguer anomaly data obtained, along with spacing of 5 meters, reaching a 38.7 meter deep
known geologic information of the region, were research , while in Puerto Espejo the prole reached
processed using a computer program for inversion 144 meters, with a spacing between electrodes of
of gravimetric data (GM-SYS V.3.6), from which a 4 meters and a 31 meter depth. The data of appar-
geological model of the zones was obtained. ent resistivity obtained in the processing of the
Figure 5 shows the methodology used in tomo- information were used to nd the values of real
graphic exploration. The objective of the study was resistivity using a program specialized in inversion
to determine the contrast in resistivity in the sub- (RES2DINV, V. 3.48).
surface layers in two dimensions, conrming the
presence of materials associated to those found in RESULTS
geotechnical and geological studies for the zone.
The method used to determine the stratigraphic GRAVIMETRY
proles was the electric resistivity, since the objec-
tive was to nd the geometry of the layers trough Measured Bouguer anomaly values in the range of
the contrast in their resistivities. The method of -33,23 to -22,29 mgal in Puerto Espejo and 57,79 a
electric tomography was applied , using the Wenner- 65,27 mgal at University of Quindo, resulted in the
Schlumberguer array due to the fact that bi-dimen- following models:.
sional proles were needed and for the necessity of Puerto espejo zone
obtaining complementation parameters to regional The prole shown in Figure 3 is extended along a
geotechnical and geological studies which are uni- gravimetric line with a longitude of 543,68 meters,
dimensional. This array provides a good resolution heights between 1327,52 and 1349,16 meters above
in both vertical and horizontal directions. sea level and the values for Bouguer anomalies
For the area of University of Quindio, a 180m increase to the North of the prole as shown in
prole was made (see Figure 1), with electrode Figure 6.

Figure 6. Model of densities distributions in Puerto espejo and its anomaly adjustment (above).

Aplication of Gravimetry and Electric Tomography Methods to Obtain Stratigrac Proles:
Case Study at University of Quindo and Puerto Espejo Area, Armenia-Colombia

The geometry of the layers was stablished, Arquia Complex is observed below 100m depth
obtainig values in density between 1.5 and 1.75 approximately, in the North direction of the prole
g/cm3, increasing with depth. Four layers relatively and shows a tendency to deepen in the South direction,
horizontal for the prole were obtained (see Figure due to accumulation of Quaternary deposits.
6.), which show an increase in thickness of the fan
to the South, presenting a lightly dipping structure. University of Quindo
The deposits found in this regions were associated
to La Florida fan, which belongs to the group of The prole shown in Figure 5 is extended along a
distals fans. gravimetric line with a longitude of 581,06 meters,
The rst layer, with a density of 1.5 g/cm3 shows heights between 1511.67 and 1544,725 meters above
uniformity in thickness (17 m. aproximately) as shown sea level, presenting Bouguer anomalies in the
in geotechnical borehole (see Figure 2) associated range of 57,79 to 65,27 mGal, from North to South
to volcanic ash. For this prole, the presence of respectively, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7. Model of densities distributions at University of Quindo and its respective anomalie adjustment(above).

The values for density obtained are in the range 1.5 The rst layer presenting a density of 1.5 g/cm3
to 1.75 g/cm3 increasing as depth increases. Five shows a variation in depth from 11 to 24 m. Conrm-
relatively horizontal layers were also obtained (see ing the thickness of volcanic ashes (21 m.) indicated
Figure 7), these show an increase in the thickness in geotechnical boreholes P6 (see Figure 2), increas-
of the layers toward south, showing a slightly dip- ing thickness toward North. The presence of Arquia
ping surface. The deposits found in this sector were Complex is after the 200m deep. Aproximately
associated to Circasia fan, which belongs to the in the North side, with tendency to deepen to the
intermediate fan group. South direction of the prole, due to accumulation
of Quaternary deposits.

Erika Cristina Jaramillo Giraldo, Ximena Vega Manchola and Hugo Monsalve Jaramillo


A model with real distribution of resistivity in the The correlation of data obtained in mechanical
layers of the sub-surface was obtained for every zone boreholes P4 and the resistivity values found,
under study, which is represented by the variation in allowed to obtain a denitive model for Puerto
colors. After analyzing tomographic proles with the Espejo, which reects a great inuence of natural
corresponding mechanical boreholes, the resistivity humidity in the values of resistivity in the upper
ranges for every type of soil were computed. The layers. This can be observed in the graph obtained
variables involved were: Natural humidity, unitary during the analysis (Figure 8), while in lower layers,
weight, bearing capacity, S- wave speed and RQD the dominant factor is the degree of cementation and
(R=?, Q=?, D=?). meteorization.

Figure 8. Variation in resistivity with natural Humidity.

Although the variation of resistivity with natural model was obtained in which 7 areas were found
humidity is not linear, there is a tendency in the (see Figure 9) every one with special characteristics
resistivity, to decrease while humidity increases. A as described:

Figure 9. Areas differenciation according to resistivity and natural humidity ranges for Tomographic Prole in Puerto espejo.

Aplication of Gravimetry and Electric Tomography Methods to Obtain Stratigrac Proles:
Case Study at University of Quindo and Puerto Espejo Area, Armenia-Colombia

- Area 1 is dominant over humidity, which is reected in an

increase in the resistivity range (4500 a 9500 .m.),
Presents the lowest humidity condition, being associated to cemented sandy limestone.
reected in the largest resistivity range, which is, Below the volcanic ashes layer, there is a lithological
between 4500 and 9500 Ohm-m and is associated material stratum which shows a constrast with the
to lime sandstones.
alter(?) and that corresponds to residual soil with
resistivity values ranging between 9500 and 26300
- Area 2 .m., the aproximate thickness is 8 m. (see Figure 2).
Exhibits an intermediate humidity condition and Finally, a layer presenting the highest resistivity
resistivity values between 2200 and 4500 .m., values in the whole tomographic prole (from 26300
which is associated to sandy limestone and lime .m. and aheah), which is associated to volcanic
clays. ow after 26 m in depth (see Figure 2).

- Area 3 University of Quindo

Exhibits the highest humidity conditions, as reected The correlation of data obtained in borehole P6 along
by the smallest resistivity range, this is, between 335 with the resistivity values found, determined the
and 2200 .m. and is associated to Sandy limestone defnitive model for University of Quindo, where
and lime clays. a high inuence of natural humidity is observed in
resistivity values for upper layers, from which we
- Area 4 produced the graph represented in Fig. 10. on the
other hand, it was possible to note that the dominant
Shows a high humidity condition and certain degree factor in lower layers is the degree of cementation
of cementation. Due to the position of this area and meteorization, same as in the model found for
inside the layer of the volcanic ashes, cementation Puerto Espejo.

Figure 10. Variation of Resistivity with Natural Humidity.

For this sector there is a linear variation of resistivity and volcanic ow do not make part of the chart, since
with the humidity, presenting an inverse variation of these deposits are deeper, and there is no signicant
resistivity values with natural humidity. We can see inuence of natural humidity, but there is a high
here that the atypical values belonging to residual soil inuence of cementation and metheorization.

Erika Cristina Jaramillo Giraldo, Ximena Vega Manchola and Hugo Monsalve Jaramillo

This way, a denitive model was found, with seven dened areas (see Figure 11) as described:

Figure 11. Differenciation of areas according to resistivity ranges and natural humidity for a tomographic prole
at University of Quindio.

- Area 1 resistivity range (7,315 to 18,548 .m.), associated

to cemented lime clays.
Presents the lowest humidity conditions, being this Below the volcanic ashes layer there is a stratum
reected in the highest resistivity values, with a of lithic material which contrasts with the latter,
wide variation range (from 12000 to 47030 .m.), and corresponds to residual soil. Here, values of
the superior and inferior limits of resistivity values resistivity ranging between 18,548 and 47,030 .m.
for this area are high, due to the high percentage of are observed. The aproximate thickness is 8 m. (see
compactation, since it is located below a parking lot. Figure 2).
This material is associated to lime sandstone. Finally, a layer with the highest resistivity values
in the tomographic prole is observed. (after the
- Zona 2 47030 .m.), which is associated to volcanic ow
and is presented aproximately after 26 m in depth.
Presents a midterm to high humidity condition and
(see Figure 2).
resistivity values between 2000 and 7315 Ohm-m,
wich is associated to sandy limestone and lime
- Area 3
Taking into account the terraced topography of the
Presents the highest humidity condition, being this area, the gravimetric models of Puerto Espejo and the
reected in the lowest resistivity range (from 449 University of Quindo show the tendency of terracing
to 2000 .m.). It is associated to sandy limestone of Quaternary deposits like the Arquia Complex,
and lime clays. reecting a lightly dipping structure.
It is noticeable that Arquia Complex at University
- Area 4 of Quindo is presented at a bigger depth (? dicil
entender el signicado de la expresion) than in
Presents a midterm humidity condition and certain Puerto Espejo, possibly due to the distribution of
degree of cementation. Due to the position of this quaternary deposits. In Puerto Espejo, these deposits
area inside the volcanic ashes layer, there is a are less antique in comparisson to those at University
marked tendency of cementation upon the humidity of Quindo, allowing to nd the Arquia Complex
condition, which is reected in an increase in the closer to the surface. For both sectors there is a

Aplication of Gravimetry and Electric Tomography Methods to Obtain Stratigrac Proles:
Case Study at University of Quindo and Puerto Espejo Area, Armenia-Colombia

tendency in the layers to increase their thickness CONCLUSIONS

toward the South direction of the proles, reecting
a slightly dipping surface, indincating the form how -The ranges of apparent resistivity for certain types
the deposits have been accumulated. of geologycal material and minerals found reported
The micro gravimetry method allowed to analyze the by various authors differ with the values found in
layers of the sub-surface in both sectors in a more the present study, we suggest this is because in those
detailed way, although supercial. The comparison refferences the conditions under which the resistivity
between the different proles found however, with values were obtained are not considered. Moreover,
the existing ones, was only established to a maximum these studies have been made in other countries were
depth of 40 meters aproximately, since this was the the composition of the layers of the sub-surface may
biggest depth found in geotechnical boreholes so as be different to those of this geographycal region.
in the tomographic survey. -Analyzing the tomographic prole, according to
the geotechnical data from the area under study,
its is observed that in the layers of volcanic ashes,
(upper layers) the dominant factor in the variation
It is observed that the range of values in resistivity of the resistivity is the Natural Humidity, while in
of the sub-surface at University of Quindo is bigger the lower layers like residual soil and volcanic ow
with respect to that of Puerto Espejo, possibly due to the metheorization degree is dominant.
soil characteristics and age of the deposits, those at - The Electric Tomography method is useful as a tool
University of Quindo are older, which is reected in of sub-surface surveying at shallow levels and the
the cementation range, one of the most inuencing construction of stratigraphic proles, an appropriate
factors in the increase of resistivity. The age of calibration of the ranges of resistivity is necessary
shallow deposits analyzed at University of Quindio however for the soils of the municipality and for
is relected in a higher degreee of compactation, different seasons of the year in order to consider
which has a direct influence in the increase of climate factors.
resistivity ranges. - It is useful to know the tendencies of the sub-
Both models show a dominant tendency of natural surface structures using the electric tomography
humidity in the variation of resistivity values in in Civil Enginnering, and more specifically in
the volcanic ashes layer, allowing to diffrenciate Geotechnics, because the level of uncertainty in
permeable soil from those non permeable, while in excavations is reduced for the foundation. With this,
the lower layers (residual soil and volcanic ow) the number of tests is also reduced as well as the cost
the dominant factor is the degree of cementation of construction projects.
and meteorization. - The gravimetric method is of great help for
The electric tomography method allowed to view geological characterization studies as well as for the
the transition between the different layers of the soil. seismic microzoning, because it permits to identify
(volcanic ashes, residual soil and volcanic ow), this the more dense layers of the sub-surface associated
is evidenced by the strong contrast in the resistivity to rock formation such as Arqua complex and
values mapped. diffrenciate them from the less dense like Quindo
The anomalies found in every prole demonstrates fan.
the effectivity of the electric resistivity method in the - Due to the difference in characteristics between
survey of underground structures since it is possible soils at University of Quindo and Puerto Espejo,
to observe a good resolution of geometry and depth, there is a variation in the ranges of resistivity, being
providing Civil engineers with an reliable alternative reduced in Puerto Espejo. At University of Quindo,
in the analysis of foundations, piping, ducts, or the resistivity ranges obtained for the same type of
underground structures. soil in Puerto Espejo were wider.
A limitation in the electric tomography works - It can be observed that the thickness of the volcanic-
applied to Civil Engineering is the necessity to be sedimentary deposits, corresponding to densities
carried out on a natural surface (soil) (??) between 1.5 and 1.75 g/cm3, is strongly related to
the location of each area under study in respect to
volcanic centers that originated them. For this reason,

Erika Cristina Jaramillo Giraldo, Ximena Vega Manchola and Hugo Monsalve Jaramillo

the gravimetric prole of Puerto Espejo presents Espinosa, A., 2000. Mapa Preliminar de Fallas Activas
smaller thickness for those deposits, since this area del Quindo, Zona Central. Informe Final Proyecto 152,
is located at a distal fan (La Florida), while the Universidad del Quindo, Armenia, 70 p., indito.
thickness determined for deposits below University Espinosa, A. (En prensa). Un modelo del Cuaternario
del Quindo y Risaralda. Revista de la Academia
of Quindo is larger because they are located in a
Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Fsicas y Naturales.
midterm fan (Circasia), being consequently older. Bogot.
Espitia, M. y Caro, P. Captulo 1 Geologa local y tectnica
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