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We document a previously unrecognized, thin-skinned arc-continental collisional zone, termed here the Colon fold-thrust belt, which trends northeastward for 350 km near the Honduras-Nicaragua border region. The Colon belt occurs in three collinear segments: (1) a 200-km-long belt of remote but well-exposed Jurassic–Late Cretaceous rock outcrops described from original geologic mapping presented in this study; (2) a 75-km-long subsurface belt of Jurassic–Late Cretaceous rocks known from onland seismic reflection studies and exploration drilling for oil; and (3) an offshore 75-km-long subsurface belt of Late Cretaceous to Eocene rocks known from exploration studies. These three segments share a continuity of the deformation front and associated folds, as well as a similar timing of fold-thrust deformation (segment one: post-Campanian; segment two: post–Late Cretaceous; segment three: post-Cretaceous and possible to Eocene); and all segments display southeastward-dipping thrusts and related northeastward-verging folds that structurally elevate Cretaceous rocks.

The structural position of the Siuna belt of oceanic island arc affinity to the south of the Colon fold-thrust belt, its association with calc-alkaline volcanic rocks of the Caribbean arc, and its Campanian (75 Ma) emplacement age, suggest that the Siuna belt was overthrust to the north and northwest onto the hanging wall of the Colon fold-thrust belt. The northwestward-transported Colon fold-thrust belt and adjacent Siuna belt document a Late Cretaceous collisional event between a south-facing continental margin of the Chortis block of northern Central America and an eastward and north-eastward-moving, Early to Late Cretaceous Caribbean arc system.

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