Seismic and other geophysical and geological evidence suggest that the Caribbean plate, at eastern Hispaniola, is being underthrust by a relatively small slab of Americas plate. The slab is terminated at its southeastern and northwestern ends by hinge faults, which mark the juncture of the Puerto Rico and Cayman transform faults, respectively, with the slab. Age determinations, based on the length of the seismic zone associated with this slab, indicate an upper Tertiary time of origin for this eastern Hispaniola miniature arc structure.

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