An outline of the geology of Mexico
This chapter provides a brief introduction to the geology of Mexico for members of the international geological community unfamiliar with the geology of the southern border region of the North American continent and adjacent parts of northern Central America. The main geologic features are presented by morphotectonic provinces, including the adjacent sea floor, accompanied by relevant references, primarily in English. Since most of the geological information is of reconnaissance nature, regional interpretations necessarily involve speculations and resulting controversial issues. These have been avoided, for their objective presentation would have exceeded the predetermined number of pages for this chapter.
The first geological map of Mexico was prepared by the staff of Comisión Geológica Nacional, the starting organization of the Mexican Geological Survey, under the direction of Antonio del Castillo (1889a); the explanatory text constitutes the first geological synthesis of the country, the Bosquejo geológico de México, and was published with the participation and coordinating efforts of Aguilera (1896). The pioneer descriptions of the geology of the Yucatán Peninsula (Heilprin, 1891; Sapper, 1896), Chiapas and Tabasco (Böse, 1905) and northern Central America (Sapper, 1899) allowed the presentation of a regional tectonic synthesis during the 8th International Geographical Congress in Washington, D.C. (Sapper, 1905). On the occasion of the 10th session of the IGC, held in Mexico in 1906, a set of 31 field trip guidebooks was edited, presenting the country’s geology in a very objective way. The so-called Bailey Willis geological map of North America was distributed to the participants, although it was published formally by the U.S. Geological Survey (Willis, 1912), while Aguilera (1906) presented an overview on the tectonics and volcanism in Mexico. The first description of the physiography of Mexico according to physiographic provinces is credited to Thayer (1916); the first book on the geology of Mexico, which was published in Berlin, is credited to Freudenberg (1921).
Figures & Tables
Summaries of the major features of the geology of North America and the adjacent oceanic regions are presented. Twenty chapters include concise reviews of current thinking about Precambrian basement, Phanerozoic orogens, cratonic basins, passive-margin geology of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions, marine and terrestrial geology of the Caribbean region, marine geology of the North Atlantic and northeast Pacific oceans, Quaternary geology, hydrogeology, and economic geology. An excellent text for a graduate course or upper-level undergraduate course in regional geology. Includes tables of contents for the other volumes in this series. Extended selected references also available.