Thomas van der Hammen

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Thomas van der Hammen
Thomas van der Hammen - 20030504 Colombia 08.jpg
Born(1924-09-27)September 27, 1924
DiedMarch 12, 2010(2010-03-12) (aged 85)
Nationality Dutch
Alma mater Leiden University
Known forGeology, palaeontology
Spouse(s)Anita Malo
ChildrenCornelis, María Clara
AwardsPremio a la vida y obra, fondo para la protección del medio ambiente, 1995
Scientific career
Fields Geology, palaeontology of Colombia
Thesis Late-glacial flora and periglacial phenomena in the Netherlands  (1951)
The Bogota savanna, where Van der Hammen did a lot of his work SabanaBogota.jpg
The Bogotá savanna, where Van der Hammen did a lot of his work
Map of the Thomas van der Hammen Reserve in the north of Bogota Mapa de Reserva van der Hammen en Bogota.png
Map of the Thomas van der Hammen Reserve in the north of Bogotá

Thomas van der Hammen (Schiedam, Netherlands, 27 September 1924 - Chía, Colombia, 12 March 2010) was a Dutch palaeontologist, botanist and geologist. [1] He has published more than 160 works in five languages. [2]



Thomas van der Hammen was born in the city of Schiedam in South Holland, western The Netherlands and studied botany and palaeontology at Leiden University from 1944 to 1949. He was a deeply religious man. [3]

After his studies and years of research at the University of Amsterdam, Van der Hammen arrived in Bogotá in 1951. [3]

Thomas van der Hammen analysed the Bogotá savanna and concluded a great lake (Lake Humboldt) was present there around 60,000 years BP, covering present-day Bogotá, Soacha, Funza, Mosquera, Madrid, Cota, Chía and Cajicá. [4] Van der Hammen has contributed greatly to the understanding of the geology of the Bogotá savanna and surrounding areas. He has worked with Gonzalo Correal Urrego towards an understanding of the prehistoric sites, as El Abra, Tequendama and Tibitó in central Colombia and has defined and described various geological formations, such as the Marichuela, [5] Tunjuelo, [6] and Subachoque Formations. [7] His paleobotanical background proved valuable in dating the continental Cacho Formation. [8]

In 2000, a natural reserve in the north of Bogotá bordering Chía and Cota, Thomas van der Hammen Natural Reserve, was named after the naturalist. The mayor of Bogotá, Enrique Peñalosa who ran twice for the Green Party, allowed for the construction of homes in the reserve, leading to protests of the people. [9] [10]

In 2003, Dr. van der Hammen granted a wide-ranging interview to Radio Netherlands about his work and his life. [11]


This list is a selection. [1] [2] [12]



The standard author abbreviation Hammen is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name. [13]

See also

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Thomas van der Hammen Natural Reserve Forest reserve

The Thomas van der Hammen Natural Reserve or Thomas van der Hammen Forest Reserve is an area of the Bogotá savanna that is under environmental protection. The natural reserve was declared as such in year 2000 by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable development. It takes its name from the Dutch-Colombian geologist Thomas van der Hammen who devoted his life to the research of the region. The surface area of the protected reserve is approximately 1,395 hectares and it is located in the north of Bogotá.

Tunjuelo Formation

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The Tilatá Formation is a geological formation of the Bogotá savanna, Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes. The formation consists of coarse to very coarse conglomerates and sandstones. The Tilatá Formation dates to the Neogene period; Early to Late Pliocene epoch, and has a maximum thickness of 83 metres (272 ft). The formation underlies the Quaternary sequence of alluvial, lacustrine and fluvial sediments of Lake Humboldt.

Sabana Formation Geological formation in the Colombian Andes

The Sabana Formation is a geological formation of the Bogotá savanna, Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes. The formation consists mainly of shales with at the edges of the Bogotá savanna lignites and sandstones. The Sabana Formation dates to the Quaternary period; Middle to Late Pleistocene epoch, and has a maximum thickness of 320 metres (1,050 ft), varying greatly across the savanna. It is the uppermost formation of the lacustrine and fluvio-glacial sediments of paleolake Humboldt, that existed at the edge of the Eastern Hills until the latest Pleistocene.

Pre-Columbian cultures of Colombia

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  1. 1 2 (in Spanish) Curriculum Vitae Thomas van der Hammen
  2. 1 2 List of publications by Thomas van der Hammen - WorldCat
  3. 1 2 (in Spanish) Van der Hammen, the last great naturalist - El Espectador
  4. (in Spanish) Lake Humboldt on the Bogotá savanna around 60,000 years BP
  5. Montoya & Reyes, 2005, p.65
  6. Montoya & Reyes, 2005, p.71
  7. Montoya & Reyes, 2005, p.69
  8. Montoya & Reyes, 2005, p.57
  9. (in Spanish) Thomas van der Hammen Reserve and Enrique Peñalosa
  10. (in Spanish) Van der Hammen Reserve
  11. "Under Foreign Skies - Thomas van der Hammen", Radio Netherlands Archives, November 20, 2003
  12. Overview of publications by Thomas van der Hammen Archived 1 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  13. IPNI.  Hammen.


Notable works by Van der Hammen