Jamaica is located on a restraining bend on the E-trending, left-lateral plate boundary between the Gônave microplate and Caribbean plate. Deformation in southern Jamaica occurs on two reactivated and simultaneously active fault sets: NNW-striking reverse faults and E-striking strike-slip faults. Movement on NNW-striking reverse faults forms fault-propagation folds that are expressed topographically as the Don Figuerero, Santa Cruz, and Brisco Mountains. The NNW-trending ranges (and faults) of southern Jamaica terminate against the E-W–oriented strike-slip faults. The two dominant E-striking, left-lateral strike-slip faults are the South Coast fault zone in the south and the central Jamaica fault system (Cavaliers fault, Rio Minho–Crawle River fault, and the Siloah fault system) in the central part of the island.
We propose that the restraining bend is the result of reactivated, interacting fault arrays in southern Jamaica. The two fault systems inherited from Cretaceous and Paleogene deformation are reactivated to accommodate current deformation. The NNW-striking reverse faults accommodate E-W shortening, and the E-striking strike-slip faults accommodate both the plate motion and the differential motion of the fault blocks bounded by the NNW-striking reverse faults. This geometry results in topographic highs and lows along strike of the strike-slip faults, as a result of vertical displacement on the NNW-striking reverse faults.
- Received 5 November 2013.
- Revision received 3 July 2014.
- Accepted 13 October 2014.
- © 2014 Geological Society of America