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Department of Geography and Geology
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Mitchell, Simon F.
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Sedimentology and tectonic evolution of the cretaceous rocks of Central Jamaica: Relationships to the plate tectonic evolution of the Caribbean
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Abstract
Detailed mapping and logging of successions in the Central inlier of central Jamaica has been undertaken. The succession contains three angular unconformities that allow the division of the succession into four units. The oldest rocks, the Arthurs Seat Formation, consist of a lower series of tholeiitic basaltic lavas and an upper unit of poorly sorted conglomerates with some calc-alkaline lavas. They represent lavas and proximal volcaniclastic deposits of a late early or early late cretaceous volcanic center. The late satonian to early Campanian Crofts Hill Synthem (Peters Hill Formation, Back River Formation [new], and Dawburns Content Formation [new]) rests unconformably on the Arthurs Seat Formation. It represents a deepening-upward succession, beginning with rudist limestones and ending in turbiditic sandstones and shales. The unconformity at the base of the Crofts Hill Synthem is interpreted as the result of a rifting event that created an intra-arc to back-arc basin, in which the rocks of the Crofts Hill Synthem were deposited. The Crofts Hill Synthem is cut by late Campanian thrust faults that dip toward the north. This thrusting was caused by the collision of the western part of the Greater Antilles arc with the Yucatán Peninsula. The Maastrichtian Kellits Synthem represents a transgressive-regressive cycle that rests unconformably on the rocks of the Arthurs Seat Formation and Crofts Hill Synthem. The succession begins with braided stream deposits (Slippery Rock Formation) and passes upward through tidal-flat siltstones (Thomas River Formation) into open-shelf limestones (Guinea Corn Formation). The succeeding Summerfield Group represents a progradational volcaniclastic braid-plain delta complex (Green River, Peckham, and Mahoe River Formation) and is succeeded by a thick succession of ignimbrites (Waterworks Formation). The volcaniclastic sediments and ignimbrites are interpreted to have been shed from a newly emergent volcanic center in eastern Jamaica, possibly the Above Rocks magma chamber. The Kellits Synthem is overlain uncomformably by the limestones and clastics of the middle Eocene Yellow Limestone Group. This unconformity is interpreted to represent the initiation of northeast-southwest-directed extension that saw the formation of the Wagwater Trough in eastern Jamaica.....
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