An overview of the geologic and tectonic development of Hispaniola
Paul Mann, Grenville Draper, John F. Lewis, 1991. "An overview of the geologic and tectonic development of Hispaniola", Geologic and Tectonic Development of the North America-Caribbean Plate Boundary in Hispaniola, Paul Mann, Grenville Draper, John F. Lewis
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Hispaniola consists of an agglomeration of 11 island-arc terranes that crop out over the northern two-thirds of the island and one oceanic plateau terrane that crops out over the southern one-third of the island. The island-arc terranes, which range in age from Early Cretaceous to late Eocene, can be classified on the basis of lithologic associations, structure, and metamorphic grade as: (1) fragments of oceanic crust, (2) fragments of the fore arc/accretionary prism of an island arc, (3) fragments of the volcano-plutonic part of an island arc, and (4) a fragment of a back-arc basin.
The structure and stratigraphy of the volcano-plutonic and fore-arc/accretionary prism arc terranes of Hispaniola suggest eight main tectonic phases: (1) earliest Cretaceous to pre-Aptian island-arc plutonism, volcanism, and metamorphism mainly in a submarine environment; (2) pre-Aptian uplift and erosion of the island arc in eastern Hispaniola and Puerto Rico possibly associated with arc collision and a subsequent reversal in subduction polarity of the island arc; (3) post-Albian to pre-Campanian renewal of island-arc plutonism, volcanism, and metamorphism mainly in a submarine environment; (4) Campanian deformation and metamorphism possibly associated with a second arc collision and subsequent reversal in subduction polarity of the island arc; (5) post-Campanian to pre-middle Eocene renewal of island-arc plutonism, volcanism, and metamorphism mainly in a submarine environment; (6) middle to early late Eocene collision of the island arc with the southern edge of the North America plate (Bahama carbonate platform); collision uplifted the submerged arc and terminated island-arc volcanism and plutonism; (7) east-west strike-slip faulting subparallel to the strike of partially emerged and eroding arc rocks beginning in the Eocene and lasting to the early Miocene; and (8) early Miocene transpression resulting from oblique collision and suturing of the oceanic plateau terrane with the island-arc terrane and interaction of east-west strike-slip zones with older north-northwest island-arc structures. Many of the terrane boundaries separating island-arc and oceanic plateau terranes were reactivated as oblique-slip faults during early Miocene to Recent convergence between the island-arc and oceanic plateau terranes and form nine morphotectonic provinces consisting of elongate, fault-bounded mountain ranges and intervening clastic sedimentary basins.
The structure and stratigraphy of the oceanic plateau terrane suggests four main tectonic phases: (1) Late Cretaceous oceanic plateau growth; (2) Latest Cretaceous deformation and erosion; (3) Paleocene-early Miocene subsidence and strike-slip faulting; and (4) early Miocene to present transpression.
The discrepancy between large-scale strike-slip offset along the Cayman Trough (~1,110 km) and much smaller offsets of arc rocks in Hispaniola and Central America (<200 km) is explained by the existence of restraining bends along interplate strike-slip faults in Hispaniola and Central America, which locally transform strike-slip displacement into fault splays, rotation of fault-bounded blocks, vertical uplift, or underthrusting. Based on indirect regional constraints, we infer that both the oceanic and island-arc terranes of Hispaniola originated in the Pacific as part of a single continuous island arc, the “Great Arc,” which swept into the Caribbean during Late Cretaceous and early Cenozoic time.
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Geologic and Tectonic Development of the North America-Caribbean Plate Boundary in Hispaniola
- Caribbean Plate
- Caribbean region
- Greater Antilles
- island arcs
- North American Plate
- oceanic crust
- plate convergence
- strike-slip faults
- structural geology
- underthrust faults
- West Indies