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Serpentinites occur on three sides of the Caribbean tectonic plate, essentially along the boundary zones. The different geological environments in which they occur result from the crustal composition of the bounding plates and their interfaces. The masses that occur between plates of continental crust (northern Central America) are related to major rift zones. Those that occur in areas of oceanic crust (Greater Antilles and southern Central America) or at the zone of oceanic and continental boundaries (northwestern South America) are associated with volcanic and sedimentary rocks of the ophiolite suite. Others (northern Colombia and Venezuela) occur in association with metasedimentary rocks along the thin edge of a continental plate.

The serpentinites were emplaced mainly during Cretaceous time around the Caribbean plate. Their distribution and modes and ages of emplacement are compatible with modern concepts of plate tectonics.

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