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Basement Rocks Bordering the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea

  • Philip O. Banks

Abstract

This paper reviews briefly what is presently known about the lithologies, distribution, and ages of basement rocks surrounding the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. The term basement is interpreted to mean pre-Mesozoic rocks, that is, rocks whose times of formation predate the initiation of the Gulf and Caribbean basins as recognized today. A major question is whether or not pre-Mesozoic rocks underlie the floors proper of these basins. No paleontologic evidence for any has yet been found, and geophysical evidence, by itself, does not determine rock ages. Therefore, it is of considerable interest that Pequegnat et al. (1971) report a K-Ar age of 319 ± 5 m.y. for the 2–0.2 μ fraction of an unusual violet-colored siltstone, dredged from one of the Sigsbee Knolls in the central Gulf of Mexico. This age suggests that Upper Paleozoic rocks occur beneath the Gulf, having been brought to an exposed position at the Knolls by diapiric movements. Its significance, though, depends critically on whether authigenic glauconite is the only potassium-bearing mineral in the analyzed material, as the authors claim, or whether detritai illite or similar mineral is also present, for in that case the measured age could be older than the deposition age of the siltstone. Consequently this one result does not fully resolve the problem, and a challenge remains for further work.

Keywords

Basement Rock Detrital Zircon Lower Devonian Paleozoic Rock Central Cordillera 
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.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip O. Banks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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