Updated 3 November 2015

Chapter Leader: Ana María Rojas, Medical Geology Research Group, Calle 24 Carrera 2aEste-04. Delicias Norte. Chía, Colombia

Chapter Vice-Chair: Sandra Carolina Londono

The IMGA Local Chapter in Colombia was established in 2008. The research group has led, since its creation, the research training of students and the development of academic proposals towards understanding the geological resources in direct relation with the welfare and health of the Colombian society. The vision of the Colombian Chapter is to become a multidisciplinary group leading the research in Medical geology in Colombia, to act as a bridge between sciences and entities in order to propose new approaches and solutions to solve environmental-health-geology related problems.


The June issue is an excellent history-in-brief of medical geology by Ana María Rojas of the Colombian Chapter.  The September issue highlights forensic geology.

October 2015

Report from Local Chapter Leader Ana Mar
ía Rojas:

The Colombian Chapter has been working on the following topics:

  • Literacy on Medical Geology. We elaborate on English and Spanish documents. They include big ideas and theoretical principles of this discipline. Robert Finkelman and Olle Selinus have the English document to review.
  • The formulation of a case study on Medical Geology in Caquetá River (Colombian Amazonia), with emphasis on mercury and cyanide. This study is a part of the project, "Atlas of Medical and Forensic Geology for Colombia." It is realized together with Medical and Forensic Geology Research Group and Observatory.
  • Review of the publication “Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology” of the American Geological Institute.
  • A document about methodology for Medical Geology Studies. Nowadays, this document compiles the different sample procedures used in Environmental, Geochemical, and Public Health.
  • A directory of strategic partners to promote and develop Medical Geology in Colombia.
More detailed and comprehensive information is available on Colombia Chapter page of the member section.

June 2015

Report from Local Chapter Leader Ana María Rojas:

The Chapter Leader has new contact details (see above).

Members of this Chapter are now spread in various parts of Colombia and in other countries and keep up to date and in contact via the following Facebook page:

Establishment of Colombian Medical and Forensic Geology Observatory (website)

Ana María Rojas and Cristina Garzón have been worked in the establishment of a Colombian Medical and Forensic Geology Observatory.
It is an academic and entrepreneurial initiative that seeks to generate and to spread knowledge in Spanish language, to create environmental and social indicators of mining and energy activities and development tools for decision making will help to resolve geo-socio-environmental conflicts.

Current structure:

  • Executive Director Ana María Rojas: is responsible for the successful leadership and management of the Observatory.
  • Academic Director, Cristina Garzón: advises the research in the National University of Colombia.
  • Research Group Associated, Colombian Medical and Forensic Research Group: supports research in universities and colleges.


Members of this Chapter are now spread in various parts of Colombia and in other countries and keep up to date and in contact via the following Facebook page:


In the last 6 months the Chapter has worked towards getting stronger in its foundations and to create nodes or partnerships with governmental institutions. It recognized important health problems in Colombia, such as the effects of mercury in gold mining communities and established important contacts with gold artisanal mining associations, ONUDI, mining-agricultural centres and local environmental authorities that could be interesting in projects in medical geology in the future.
The Chapter is carrying out the update in the research institutes from Colombia (Colciencias, DIB).
We have been working on a medical geology course. We already have the brochure, agenda and some potential sponsors.
We have been implementing the Medical Geology Observatory in Colombia.

Chapter Members

The group has identified important health problems in Colombia that have a relationship to geology, such as toxic levels of mercury found in gold mining communities of Chocó, South-eastern Antioqueño and South of Bolivar. The group has been working in contacting key people in order to execute projects and to raise aware-ness regarding the need for conducting medical geology studies in affected areas.
We have identified potential strategic partners and people interested in medical geology.
We are planning to conduct a medical geology course in the year 2013, we have now started looking for fund-ing. We have been writing proposals to fund 2 projects and when the results are announced we will let IMGA know.


Ballesteros, R. A., Garzon N.C. (In progress): Geological characterization and preliminary pharmacological study of clay minerals in Araracuara-queta, Colombia, with potential for superficial and subcutaneous mycoses. Continuing with the study of healing clays found in the Colombian Amazons, the goal of this project is to determine the uses of clay for treating superficial and subcutaneous mycoses. Ricardo Ballesteros, the leader of the project is a last year student in the Pharmacy Department of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. So far the clays have been characterized and the second step will be to test them. Contact:


To increase the visibility of the group some active members have been working in creating a web site with access from a Google site and/or a link at the site of the National University and IMGA web site. Contact:

A new brochure has been designed with information about medical geology and the Colombian group. It will be distributed starting mid-May in universities, ONGs, government agencies, and through informal or formal talks. The brochure is in Spanish, in full color and contains beautiful and self-explanatory images. Another medium that will be used to spread the word on medical geology is the radio station of the Universidad Nacional. Two of our active members, the pharmaceutical chemistry student, Ricardo Ballesteros and the geologist Ana Maria Rojas, have been invited to talk about "The use of minerals in pharmacy and the relationship among pharmacy and medical geology” in a radio program called “Desde la Botica” (From the pharmacy). The program is directed by Professor Ilvar Jose Muñoz, MSc, in Public Health and professor in the Pharmacy Department. The Universidad Nacional radio station has a wide coverage, since it not only reaches
the student community but the whole of Bogota City.

Contact: Sandra Londono, Department of Geosciences, Ciudad Universitaria Carrera 30 No 45 – 03, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
(National University of Colombia), 11001 Bogotá, Colombia. E-mail:

Read the Colombian report here.


The Colombian Chapter is very active. Sandra Londono is no longer the leader of the Chapter, as she is no longer based in Colombia while studying for a PhD in the USA. Members of the Chapter are mainly geology students with two chemical pharmacists. The Chapter continues to work on a variety of research topics including: clay minerals used in traditional medicine; geological controls on parasitic diseases, and health effects of Hg pollution from gold mining. Ana Maria Rojas and Ricardo Ballesteros are the new leaders of this Chapter. IMGA would like to thank Sandra for all her outstanding work for the Colombia Chapter including her excellent IMGA Newsletter reports over the years and wishes Sandra well with her PhD studies. IMGA would like to welcome Ana Maria Rojas and Ricardo Ballesteros as the new leaders of this Chapter and looks forward to working with them in the future.