Timing and implications of Late Cretaceous tectonic and sedimentary events in Jamaica


  • S. F. MITCHELL University of the West Indies




Cretaceous, Tertiary, Uncorfomities, Caribbean Plate, Jamaica, Stratigraphy.


The Cretaceous succession in Jamaica can be divided into sedimentary packages bounded by major unconformities (synthems). On the base of biostratigraphy and ages derived from strontium isotope ratios, these unconformities have been dated as Early Santonian, Late Campanian-Early Maastrichtian and Early Eocene. Each unconformity is also characterised by the widespread deposition of shallow water limestones, and a further shallow limestone depositional event occurred in the late Middle Campanian. Some unconformities can be related to known tectonic events (based on either Burke-type or Pindell-type models) that affected the Caribbean region. The Early Santonian event is widespread and occurred shortly after the creation of the Caribbean Large Igneous Province. The late Middle Campanian shallow water limestone event could correlate to the reversal of the Great Arc of the Caribbean in Burke-type models, but is unrepresented in Pindell-type models. The Late Campanian-Early Maastrichtian unconformity is related to the first collision of the Caribbean Plate with North America in both Burke-type and Pindell-type models. The Early Eocene event is associated with the onset of rifting that controlled Tertiary depositional patterns across Jamaica.

Author Biography

S. F. MITCHELL, University of the West Indies

Department of Geography and Geolog