Bulletin Volcanologique

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 601–607 | Cite as

Late tertiary volcanic stratigraphy of northern central America

  • J. H. Reynolds


Correlations of Late Tertiary volcanic stratigraphic columns in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras indicate that a common lithostratigraphic sequence is present throughout northern Central America. The Late Tertiary volcanic sequences are divided into three lithostratigraphic formations that roughly parallel the Pacific coastline. The Chalatenango Formation, composed of rhyolitic tuffs and lavas, is of Middle to Upper Miocene age. It occurs in the northern and central portions of the Tertiary volcanic belt. The Bálsamo Formation consists of andesitic lavas, tuffs, and lahars and is Upper Miocene to Pliocene in age. It is only found on the Pacific coastal side of the Tertiary volcanic belt. The Cuscatlán Formation is made up of rhyolitic tuffs and volcanic sediments overlain by rhyolitic and basaltic lavas that were erupted during the Pliocene. In eastern and central El Salvador the Cuscatlán Formation overlies the Bálsamo Formation on the coastal side of the belt, but in western El Salvador and southeastern Guatemala it overlies the Chalatenango Formation on the northern side of the Tertiary volcanic belt. The apparent offset of the Cuscatlán Formation in western El Salvador may indicate that the underthrusting Cocos Plate was broken into segments in Pliocene time.


Miocene Pliocene Volcanic Belt Northern Side Basaltic Lava 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bonis, S., 1965,Geología del area de Quezaltenango. Inst. Geogr. Nac. de Guatemala, Rep. de Guatemala, 64 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Burkart, B., 1965,Geology of the Esquipulas, Chanmagua, and Cerro Montecristo Quadrangles, Southeastern Guatemala. Ph.D. Thesis, Rice University, Houston, 121 pp.Google Scholar
  3. —————, andCrane, D., 1973,Mesozoic and Cenozoic Stratigraphy of Southeastern Guatemala. Amer. Association of Petroleum Geologists Bull.,57-1, p. 63–73.Google Scholar
  4. Carr, al., 1975,Mapa geológico del cuadrangulo de San José Pinula (1:50,000). Inst. Geogr. Nac. Guatemala City, Guatemala.Google Scholar
  5. Crane, D.C., 1965,Geology of the Jocotán and Timushán Quadrangles Southeastern Guatemala. Ph.D. Thesis. Rice University, Houston, 85 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Dobson, D.C., Hitzmann, M.W., andReynolds, J.H., (eds.), 1977,The Geology of the Cuilapa Quadrangle, Guatemala. Inst. Geogr. Nac. Open-File Report, Guatemala City, 45 pp.Google Scholar
  7. Eggers, A.A., 1971,Geology and Petrology of the Amatitlán Quadrangle, Guatemala. Ph.D. Thesis, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., 221 pp.Google Scholar
  8. Gierzycki, G.A., 1976,Geology and Geochemistry of Three Andesitic Stratovolcanoes, Colombá Quadrangle, Guatemala. Master’s Thesis, Michigan Tech. University, Houghton, Mich., 86 pp.Google Scholar
  9. Kennett, J.P., McBirney, A.R., andThunnell, R.C., 1977,Episodes of Cenozoic Volcanism in the Circum-Pacific Region. Jour. of Volc. and Geoth. Res.,2, p. 145–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lawrence, D.P., 1975,Petrology and Structural Geology of the Sanarate — El Progreso Area, Guatemala. Ph. D. Thesis, State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, N.Y., 225 pp.Google Scholar
  11. McBirney, A.R., 1976,Some Geological Constraints on Models for Magma Generation in Orogenic Environments. Canadian Mineral.,14, p. 245–254.Google Scholar
  12. McDowell, F.W., andClabaugh, S.E., 1974,Timing of Tertiary Ignimbritic Volcanism in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico and the Central Highlands of Honduras (Abs). IV Reunion de Géologos de America Central, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.Google Scholar
  13. Montgomery, W., Donnely, T.W., andPrucha, S., 1973,Unpublished Map of the San Pedro Ayampúc Quadrangle, Guatemala. State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, N.Y.Google Scholar
  14. Quearry, M.W., 1975,Continental Volcanic Sediments in the Region of Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala. Master’s Thesis, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., 105 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Reynolds, J.H. (ed.), 1977a.The Geology of the Nueva Santa Rosa Quadrangle, Guatemala. Inst. Geogr. Nac. Open-File Report, Guatemala City, 81 pp.Google Scholar
  16. —————,, 1977b.Tertiary Volcanic Stratigraphy of Northern Central America. Master’s Thesis, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., 89 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Ritchie, A.W., 1975,Geology of the San Juan Sacatepequez Quadrangle, Guatemala. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Texas at Austin. Austin, 119 pp.Google Scholar
  18. Stoiber, R.E. andCarr, M.J., 1973,Quaternary Volcanic and Tectonic Segmentation of Central America. Bull. Volcanol.,37–43, p. 304–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wiesemann, G., 1975,Remarks on the Geologic Structure of the Republic of El Salvador. Central America. Mitt. Geol. Palaönt. Inst., Univ. Hamburg,44, p. 557–574.Google Scholar
  20. Williams, H., 1960,Volcanic History of the Guatemalan Highlands. Univ. of Cal. Pub. Geol. Sci.,38, p. 1–86.Google Scholar
  21. -----, andMcBirney, A.R., 1969,Volcanic History of Honduras. Univ. of Cal. Pub. Geol. Sci.,85, 101 pp.Google Scholar
  22. -----, -----, andDengo, G., 1964,Geologic Reconnaissance of Southeastern Guatemala. Univ. of Cal. Pub. Geol. Sci.,50, 62 pp.Google Scholar
  23. Williams, R.L., 1972,Catastro e inventario de recursos naturales. Geology of Western Nicaragua, Operation Consultant’s Final Report for 1968–1970 Surveys. Instituto Geográfico Nacional Open-File Report. Managua, Nicaragua,4, 221 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Intern. Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. Reynolds
    • 1
  1. 1.Earth Science Dept.Dartmouth CollegeHanover

Personalised recommendations