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The Cordillera Central of Hispaniola is a Cretaceous-Eocene island-arc terrane that was uplifted in Miocene to Recent time by oblique convergence between the North America and Caribbean plates. Island arc rocks at the southeastern topographic termination of the Cordillera Central plunge beneath three distinct Cenozoic marine clastic sedimentary sequences that are well exposed in a semi-arid climate. Major and minor structures and unconformities in the three sedimentary sequences record four Cenozoic deformational events that place important constraints on the tectonic history of Hispaniola.

The first deformational event occurred in Late Eocene time and is marked by zones of syn-sedimentary stratal disruption and thrust imbrication of different lithologies of the Early-early Late Eocene Peralta Group (Witschard and Dolan, 1990). Witschard and Dolan (1990) proposed that Late Eocene syn-sedimentary deformation occurred in a Late Eocene accretionary wedge that formed as a result of early transpression along the North America-Caribbean strike-slip boundary and/or collision between the Hispaniola island arc and the Bahamas platform. Oblique northeastward underthrusting and accretion beneath southern Hispaniola may have continued until the Early Miocene and resulted in deposition of a thick (2 to 8.5 km), clastic sedimentary sequence (Rio Ocoa Group) in an elongate basin between an outer high (Peralta Group) and the extinct island arc of central Hispaniola.

The second deformational event incorporated the previously deformed rocks of the Peralta belt and the Eocene to Early Miocene rocks of the Rio Ocoa Group in a southwest-verging fold and thrust belt. These rocks are unconformably overlain by unfolded rocks of the Middle Miocene-Pleistocene(?) Ingenio Caei Group that constrain the age of deformation to Early Miocene time. The deformational style of the Rio Ocoa Group suggests thrusting along a basal thrust fault inferred at depths of 2 to 3 km beneath the present-day land surface. We propose that the fold and thrust belt formed as the result of collision between Late Cretaceous oceanic plateau rocks of southern Hispaniola with the island-arc rocks of northern Hispaniola.

The third deformational event occurred in Late Miocene(?) to the present and is marked by the uplift of the Cordillera Central and a resulting southeastward tilting of the Ingenio Caei Group and of fold axes within the Rio Ocoa Group. We attribute this uplift event to the formation of a strike-slip restraining bend in central Hispaniola.

A fourth and final event affecting the area is marked by northeast-striking faults with apparent right-lateral offsets of Early Miocene folds and relatively greater post-Early Miocene shortening in the northwest corner of the study area. We attribute these effects to localized indentation of the southern margin of Hispaniola by northeastward displacement of the Beata Ridge.

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