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Northern Central America; The Maya and Chortis blockse

By
Thomas W. Donnelly
Thomas W. Donnelly
Department of Geological Sciences, State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, New York 13901
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Gregory S. Home
Gregory S. Home
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut 06457
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Richard C. Finch
Richard C. Finch
Department of Earth Sciences, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tennessee 38505
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Ernesto López-Ramos
Ernesto López-Ramos
Instituto de Geología, Apartado Postal 70-296, Ciudad Universitaria, 04510 México D.F., México
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Published:
January 01, 1991

Abstract

Northern (nuclear) Central America is conveniently divided into the Maya (sometimes called Yucatán) and Chortis blocks (Fig. 1). The division between the two blocks is the Motagua suture zone, which follows the Motagua River in east and central Guatemala, but whose western extension is buried beneath Tertiary volcanic cover in western Guatemala. The Maya block includes Guatemala north of the Motagua suture zone, Belize, the Yucatán Peninsula, and Mexico west to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The Chortis block consists of southern Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, an indeterminate part of northern Nicaragua, and the water-covered Nicaraguan Rise. The boundary between these blocks along the Motagua suture zone of central Guatemala marks the locus of interblock suturing in latest Cretaceous time.

This chapter emphasizes the older geologic history of northern Central America. Certain geologic topics relevant to this area will appear in other chapters of this volume, especially seismicity, neotectonics, magmatism, volcanism, paleomagnetism, mineral deposits, and energy.

Our discussion of the Maya block is limited to Belize and Guatemala north of the Motagua Valley; adjacent Mexican portions will be described in volumes of the Geology of North America covering Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico. Some Mexican rock occurrences which are especially pertinent to the interpretation of Guatemalan units are, however, included here. The Motagua suture zone between the Maya and Chortis blocks is discussed in this subchapter.

The Chortis block subchapter emphasizes the geology of Honduras, where most of the older rocks of this block occur. The Nicaraguan Rise is discussed

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Contents

DNAG, Geology of North America

The Caribbean Region

Gabriel Dengo
Gabriel Dengo
Gabriel Dengo Centro de Estudios Geológicos de América Central Apartado 468 Guatemala City, Guatemala
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J.E. Case
J.E. Case
U.S. Geological Survey 345 Middlefield Road Menlo Park, California 94025
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Geological Society of America
Volume
H
ISBN electronic:
9780813754567
Publication date:
January 01, 1991

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