Roatán Island is the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras. These islands form an emergent crest off the Caribbean coast of Honduras called the Bonacca Ridge. The Bartlett Trough to the north and subsequent Bonacca Ridge were likely formed due to the transform fault system of the Motagua-Swan Islands Fault System. This fault system forms the tectonic plate boundary between the North American and Caribbean plates. Although the timing and kinematics are poorly constrained, the Bay Islands and the Bonacca Ridge were likely uplifted due to transpression along this left-lateral strike-slip system. With limited regional exposures along the adjacent tectonic boundary, this study aimed to present a structural interpretation for Roatán. This new interpretation is further explained through regional considerations for a suggested geologic history of the northwestern Caribbean.
In order to better constrain the kinematics of uplift and exhumation of Roatán Island, structural, gravity, and magnetic surveys were conducted. Principal attention was directed to the structural relationship between the geologic units and their relationship to one another through deformation. Resulting geologic cross-sections from this study present the metamorphic basement exposed throughout the island to be in a normal structural order consisting of biotite schist and gneiss, with overlying units of chlorite schist, carbonate, and conglomerate. These units have relatively concordant strike and dip measurements, consistent with resultant magnetic survey readings. Additionally, large and irregular bodies of amphibolite and serpentinite throughout the island are interpreted to have been emplaced as mafic and ultra-mafic intrusions in weakness zones along Early Paleogene transform system fault planes.
The interpretation and suggested geologic history from this study demonstrate the importance of transpressive tectonics both local to Roatán and regionally throughout geologic history. Consideration of this interpretation will help to further constrain regional studies over the northwestern Caribbean.
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|Commitee:||Duex, Timothy W., Kinsland, Gary, Zhang, Rui|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||MAI 55/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Caribbean, Geology, Geophysics, Interpretation, Roatan, Structure|
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