Accretionary margin of north-western Hispaniola: morphology, structure and development of part of the northern Caribbean plate boundary

Marine and Petroleum Geology

, , , , and
DOI: 10.1016/0264-8172(92)90005-Y



Broad-range side-scan sonar (GLORIA) images and single- and multi-channel seismic reflection profiles demonstrate that the margin of north-western Hispaniola has experienced compression as a consequence of oblique North American-Caribbean plate convergence. Two principal morphological or structural types of accretionary wedges are observed along this margin. The first type is characterized by a gently sloping (???4??) sea floor and generally margin-parallel linear sets of sea-floor ridges that gradually deepen towards the flat Hispaniola Basin floor to the north. The ridges are caused by an internal structure consisting of broad anticlines bounded by thrust faults that dip southwards beneath Hispaniola. Anticlines form at the base of the slope and are eventually sheared and underthrust beneath the slope. In contrast, the second type of accretionary wedge exhibits a steeper (???6-16??) sea-floor slope characterized by local slumping and a more abrupt morphological transition to the adjacent basin. The internal structure appears chaotic on seismic reflection profiles and probably consists of tight folds and closely spaced faults. We suggest that changes in sea-floor declivity and internal structure may result from variations in the dip or frictional resistance of the de??collement, or possibly from changes in the cohesive strength of the wedge sediments. The observed pattern of thickening of Hispaniola Basin turbidites towards the insular margin suggests differential southwards tilting of the Hispaniola Basin strata, probably in response to North America-Caribbean plate interactions since the Early Tertiary. Based upon indirect age control from adjacent parts of the northern caribbean plate boundary, we infer a Late Eocene to Early Miocene episode of transcurrent motion (i.e. little or no tilting), an Early Miocene to Late Pliocene period of oblique convergence (i.e. increased tilt) during which the accretionary wedge began to be constructed, and a Late Pliocene to Recent episode of increased convergence (i.e. twice the Miocene to Pliocene tilt), which has led to rapid uplift and erosion of sediment sources on the margin and on Hispaniola, generating a submarine fan at the base of the insular slope. ?? 1992.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Accretionary margin of north-western Hispaniola: morphology, structure and development of part of the northern Caribbean plate boundary
Series title:
Marine and Petroleum Geology
Year Published:
Pages 70–72, IN1–IN2, 73–80, IN3–IN6, 81–88
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Marine and Petroleum Geology