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The Caribbean Mountains of northern Venezuela and the immediately adjacent foothills and plains to the south may be described in terms of eight subparallel tectonic belts (1 to 8 from south to north). Belts 5 through 8 consist dominantly of metamorphic rocks and constitute the mountain belt proper; belts 1 through 4 to the south involve sedimentary rock units. Early workers viewed all the tectonic belts as autochthonous. Subsequently Hess and students concluded that belt 5, the southernmost in the mountain range, was allochthonous and that its present location was the result of gravity sliding from a root zone located to the north in the Caribbean Sea.

Extensive mapping by the writer and assistants has revealed that belt 4 (the northernmost belt in the sedimentary foothills) is a flysch facies of Paleocene- Eocene age which, when followed westward, is found to curve northward around the western limits of the mountain belt to a point, in the Barquisimeto region, where it is north of tectonic belt 8 (the northernmost in the ranges). A similar flysch facies of similar age is found on Margarita Island north of the mainland. The writer concludes that this flysch facies does not overlap onto the metamorphic rocks of the mountain belt but rather that the mountain belt, consisting dominantly of Jura-Cretaceous metamorphic rocks, is embedded in the Paleocene-Eocene flysch.

It is suggested that the allochthonous tectonic belt 5 rests on a mountain belt which is itself allochthonous on the southern continent.

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