The metamorphism and structure of the Maimón Formation and Duarte and Río Verde Complexes, Dominican Central Cordillera: Implications for the structure and evolution of the primitive Caribbean Island Arc Article

cited authors

  • Viruete, JE; Huerta, PPH; Draper, G; Gutiérrez, G; Lewis, JF; Pérez-Estaún, A

fiu authors


  • The mainly metabasaltic pre-Aptian/Albian basement of the Median Belt of Hispaniola includes the Duarte Complex, the Río Verde Complex and the Maimón-Los Ranchos Formations. In base to mineral assemblages present in metabasic rocks and P-T conditions estimated from thermobarometry, the Río Verde Complex is divided into four metamorphic zones and Zone IV is further subdivided into two. The metamorphic grade increase upward in the structural sequence, from prehnite-pumpellyte facies (Zone I), through greenschist facies (Zones II and III) and amphibolite facies (Zone IVa), to upper amphibolite facies (Zone IVb), only restricted to Cpx-bearing amphibolites just below the contact with the overlying Loma Caribe Peridotite. The metamorphic field gradient is inverse and of low-P type. The P-T paths documented for Zones IVa and IVb of the Río Verde Complex involve a two-stage prograde evolution: a first event of near isobaric heating in the low-pressure field, typical of sub-ophiolite metamorphic sole rocks and characterized by critical high-grade assemblages; and a second event marked by a medium-pressure overprint of the first-stage metamorphic assemblages following a high-P gradient. These P-T paths are interpreted to result from intra-oceanic thrusting during the closure of a back-arc basin related with the Primitive Caribbean Island Arc and the onset of subduction of arc units in the Aptian/Albian time, which formed the high-pressure metamorphic overprint. The heating and development of an inverted metamorphic gradient in the sub-ophiolite Río Verde Complex, can be genetically related with the hanginwall emplacement of the hot peridotitic slice and the conductive heat transfer downward. The studied sector of the Duarte Complex (metamorphosed oceanic plateau) is divided into three metamorphic zones. Their distribution suggest that there is a temperature increase westward and downward in the structural sequence, from the upper greenschist facies (zone A), through Ep-amphibolite and amphibolite facies (zone B), to upper amphibolite transitional to lower granulite facies (zone C). The metamorphic field gradient is normal and the mid-P type (25-30° C/km). The lowest structural levels of the complex are occupied by the gabro-norites of the La Jautia batholith, which formed in ductile shear zones Grt+Opx-bearing granulites metamorphic assemblages. The 89 Ma date obtained from foliated tonalites (U-Pb in zircons) established an Upper Cretaceous age for the main ductile shearing deformation. However, the deformation is very heterogeneous in the complex, existing regionally wide metamorphic sectors without related foliation development. Therefore, the prograde metamorphism of the Duarte Complex is interpreted to result from moderated thickening of a previously thick oceanic crust, due to the great accumulation of plateau-basalts (>30 km). The post-thermal peak P-T paths suggest the unloading and cooling of the complex, during the continuous retrograde development of deformative and mylonitic non-coaxial Sp fabrics (84,6±0,5 Ma;40Ar/39Ar cooling age in syn-Sp muscovite). In summary, the metamorphic rocks of the pre-Aptian/Albian basement units of the Median Belt record different stages in the history of the acretion-obduction of the Duarte plateau with the Caribbean Primitive Island Arc. All these tectonothermal events pre-date the final arc-continent collision between the Caribbean island arc and the Bahamas platform during the Late Cretaceous.

publication date

  • January 1, 2002

start page

  • 123

end page

  • 162


  • 37


  • 2-3