Economic geology of the Isla de Mona Quadrangle, Puerto Rico

Open-File Report 74-226




Limiting this tableland In the northern part of Isla de Mona are sheer sea cliffs chiefly exposing the Isla de Mona Dolomite. Around the southern part of the island are Irregular cliffs and steep slopes that chiefly expose the Lirio Limestone. The structure of Isla de Mona consists of two gentle complex folds a broad anticline that trends and plunges gently south-southeast through the central and western parts of Isla de Mona, and a parallel syncline through-the eastern part of the Island that also has a chiefly south-southeast plunge. A near-vertical fault that strikes northwest, then north from the central part to the north coast of Isla de Mona displaces bedrock of the eastern block downward about 10 m. Many caves, including one cave system more than 100,000 m2 in total area, are localized in the lower 10 m of the Lirio Limestone, adjacent to the cliffs peripheral to the upland surface, and numerous small caves occur higher in the Lirio. A few small caves also are found In the Isla de Mona Dolomite. However, the total floor area of all caves on Isla de Mona probably is less than 1 percent of the area of the Island. Almost all caves on Isla de Mona contain phosphorite, which was mined extensively during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Phosphorite accumulation locally may have exceeded 3.5 m in thickness, but probably averaged less than 1.5 m thick. A fair estimate of original reserves of phosphorite in 12 surveyed caves is about 151,000 m3 of which about 125,500 m3 probably has been removed in mining. Original reserves in the entire island are estimated to have been in the range 158,000 to 235,500 m3. Converted to metric tons, remaining reserves of cave phosphorite probably are considerably less than 50,000. The very pure limestone and calcitic dolomite that form the bedrock of Isla de Mona are abundant industrial-mineral resources. In addition, these carbonate rocks and the beach deposits are sources of construction materials for some classes of engineering works. The structure of Isla de Mona suggests some possibility of favorable zones for accumulation of oil and gas, but no source rocks are known, and there are no confirmed reports of oil and gas from any nearby area. Known supplies of fresh water on Isla de Mona are very small, but wells dug in coastal lowlands or drilled In the upland surface might yield moderate quantities of groundwater.

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Economic geology of the Isla de Mona Quadrangle, Puerto Rico
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
iv, 116 leaves :ill. (some folded), maps ;27 cm.