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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIO R

UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

PREPARED IN COOPERATION WITH


THE COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RIC O
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORK S
AREA OF NATURAL RESOURCE S
AN D
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATIO N
INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH DEPARTMEN T

METALLOGENIC MAP OF PUERTO RIC O


By
Dennis P . Cox and Reginald P . Briggs

MISCELLANEOUS GEOLOGIC INVESTIGATION S


MAP I-72 1

PUBLISHED BY THE U .S . GEOLOGICAL SURVE Y


WASHINGTON . D .C . 2024 2

1973

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR TO ACCOMPANY MAP I-'2 1


UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVE Y

METALLOGENIC MAP OF PUERTO RIC O


By
Dennis P . Cox and Re4inald P . Brig s

INTRODUCTIO N The oh'aoic-plutonic proriuceThe structure of th e


The purpose of a metallogenic map is to show the dis - volcanic-plutonic province is dominated by broad fold s
tribution of mineral deposits in relation to geologi c and by extensive fault systems along which appreciabl e
factors, particularly those factors that have had an im- transcurrent movement has occurred, for the most par t
portant influence on the formation of the deposits . in a left-lateral sense . Both faults and fold axes are ori-
Other types of mineral resource maps aid the minera l ented chiefly along west to northwest trends, althoug h
economist by showing graphically the relationship be- major faults also occur with other orientations (Briggs ,
tween important mineral deposits and population cen- 1964) . Relatively shallow gravity gliding on a large scal e
ters and transportation routes . (For a description o f has occurred in southern Puerto Rico (Glover and Matt -
Puerto Rico's mineral resources with more emphasis o n son, 1960), hut no conclusive evidence for the presence o f
mineral economics see Briggs, 1969a) . The rnetallogeni c deep-seated thrust faults has been found .
map on the other hand is of principal benefit to the pros - Two zones of transcurrent faults in particular serve t o
pector and economic geologist because it outlines targe t define subprovinces of the "older comple x " . One of thes e
areas where certain types of deposits may he found . zones, the great northern Puerto Rico fault zone, extend s
Consequently, metallogenic maps, especially large - from the Vieques Sound near Puerto de Humacao west-
scale ones such as this, may show mineral occurrence s ward to a point about :35 kilometers west-southwest o f
which in themselves are far too small to have economi c San Juan where it is overlapped by middle Tertiary rocks .
significance . Taken together however, such occurrence s Total offset on this fault zone may be well over 60 kilo-
may delineate trends which guide the geologist in th e meters in a left-lateral sense (Briggs and Pease, 1968) .
search for concealed deposits of greater value . This map , The other, the great southern Puerto Rico fault zone, ex -
then, is not meant to illustrate the present mineral wealt h tends from the coast about 10 kilometers north o f
of Puerto Rico, but rather is intended as a prospectin g Mayagez east-southeastward to a point near Ponc e
tool . where it too is overlapped by younger units . Left-latera l
It should also be emphasized that maps of this typ e displacement along this zone may be greater than tha t
can never he considered final . With new mineral dis- along the northern zone, for lithostratigraphic and struc-
coveries, with new demands for minerals not now con- tural contrasts are greater across this zone .
sidered valuable, and (or) with increased geologic know - The ee,it,'oI colcunic-plutonie sirbproriuce The old-
ledge, new trends develop and new target areas for ex- est rocks described from the central volcanic-plutonic
ploration may be revealed . subprovince are chiefly massive volcanic breccias tha t
GEOLOGIC FRAMEWOR K contain occasional limestone lenses near the top of th e
Puerto Rico is readily divided into three broad geo- breccia section . Near the San Lorenzo batholith thes e
logic provinces . The largest of these is the mountainou s limestones are thermally metamorphosed and are th e
volcanic-plutonic province, commonly called the "olde r host rocks for magnetite-chalcopyrite deposits (localit y
complex " , that is underlain chiefly by volcanic and plu- :38-9 and others) . Fossils from limestones have bee n
tonic rocks ranging in age from Early Cretaceous to mid - assigned to the upper part of the Lower Cretaceou s
dle Eocene . This province extends from coast to coas t (Briggs, 1969) . No fossils have been identified from rock s
east-west across the island and contains nearly all of th e stratigraphically beneath, so one can say only that th e
metalliferous deposits . Resting on the flanks of thi s oldest known rocks in the central subprovince are Earl y
volcanic-plutonic core are the northern and souther n Cretaceous in age . Overlying the breccia section ar e
limestone provinces in which bedrock is composed o f Lower Cretaceous (Albian) to Upper Cretaceous (San-
rnarine sedimentary rocks, chiefly limestone . that range tonia n '') thin-bedded tuffaceous sandstone and siltston e
in age from early Oligocene to middle Miocene . Sur- intercalated with basalt and andesite pillow lava, basal t
ficial deposits mantle more than 15 percent of the area o f aquagene tuff, and basalt and andesite volcanic hrecci a
Puerto Rico . These are composed of subaerial, alluvial , (Berryhill and Glover, 1960 ; Pease and Briggs, 19(30 :
and marine materials that were deposited from Miocen e Briggs and Celahert, 1962 ; Barr}hill . 1965 : Nelson an d
time to the present . The surficial deposits are concen- Monroe, 1966 : Nelson,1967 :Mattson,1968h ;Briggs,1969) .
trated predominantly in plains and filled valleys along th e Resting with partial unconformity on this moderatel y
coasts and in a few large interior valleys ( Weaver, 1961) . well bedded section are sequences containing marin e

1
and non-marine tuffaceous conglomerate, limestone , tuffs of Cenomanian Age rest on a very thick sequenc e
marine and subaerial tuff, and subaerial volcanic brec- of Lower Cretaceous (Albian) well stratified tuff an d
cias of Late Cretaceous (Santonian? to Maestrichtian ) breccia (Seiders, 1971a) which in turn rests on an olde r
age (Glover, 1961 ; Berryhill, 1965 ; Nelson and Monroe , lava . The base of this section has not yet been mapped .
1966 ; Mattson, 1968b) . Overlying the Cenomanian rocks is a thick sequenc e
Tuffaceous rocks and limestone of Paleocene to mid- of Upper Cretaceous well-stratified tuff with som e
dle Eocene age overlie the Cretaceous rocks, also wit h breccia, limestone, and lava . These are overlain dis-
partial unconformity (Glover and Mattson, 1967 ; conformably by lower Tertiary volcanic breccia, tuff ,
Nelson, 1967b ; Mattson, 1968a, 1968b) . In south - limestone, and well stratified siltstone (Pease, 1968a ;
central Puerto Rico where these rocks are complexl y Seiders,1971b) .
involved in a gravity glide series, limestone is the hos t Although strata of the northeastern subprovince ar e
rock for manganese deposits of small to moderate siz e widely altered hydrothermally, only one large intrusiv e
(48-3 and others) . body, the Rio Blanco stock, crops out in the subprov-
One of the chief characteristics differentiating th e ince (Seiders,1971a) .
central subprovince from those on the southwest an d The northern and southern limestone provinces .
northeast is the presence within this crustal block o f After middle Eocene time extensive uplift occurred a -
large plutonic bodies . The San Lorenzo and Utuad o long an east-west axis . Erosion and subsequent depres-
batholiths and numerous smaller bodies occupy per- sion of the Puerto Rico area was accompanied by
haps 20 percent of the outcrop area of the central sub - deposition of the nonvolcanic rocks of the norther n
province (Briggs, 1964) . The age of intrusion appears and southern limestone provinces . Strata of the large r
to be centered at about the close of the Cretaceou s of these two, the northern province, include only slightl y
Period, for Upper Cretaceous units have been intruded deformed marine limestone, marl, claystone and sub -
(Glover, 1961 ; Briggs and Gelabert, 1962 ; Berryhill , ordinate dolomite that dip gently northward (Zapp
1965 ; Nelson, 1967b), but middle Eocene rocks rest o n and others, 1948 ; Monroe, 1966) . The southern lime -
exposed plutonic rocks (Mattson, 1966, 1968b) . Grano - stone province is similar lithologically, but is highl y
diorite makes up the bulk of larger plutonic bodies , faulted in comparison to the northern province (W . H .
but diorite, quartz diorite, gabbro, and quartz monzo- Monroe,written commun .,1970) . The limestones of th e
nite also are common (Weaver, 1958 ; Broedel, 1961 ; northern province display a striking karst topograph y
Nelson, 1967b ; Mattson, 1968a) . A group of quartz (Monroe, 1968) . In the southern province karst devel-
diorite porphyry stocks of Eocene age has been recog- opment is relatively minor .
nized along the south border of the Utuado batholith . Swrficial deposits .These deposits include the blan-
These include the copper-mineralized stocks at Tanam ket sands of Miocene to Holocene age which are wide -
and Rio Viv . spread in the karst areas of northern Puerto Ric o
The southwestern volcanic-plutonic subprovince (Briggs, 1966), Pleistocene eolianite and marine cal-
The chief characteristics of the southwestern volcanic - carenite along the north and west coasts (Kaye, 1959a) ,
plutonic subprovince that differentiate it from the re- and Holocene alluvial, swamp, delta, piedmont, beach ,
mainder of Puerto Rico are the presence there of larg e and dune deposits. Large landslide deposits are promi-
bodies of serpentinite and of extensive thick marin e nent features in some areas (Pease and Briggs, 1960 ;
limestones (Mattson, 1960) . The serpentine provides Monroe, 1964, 1967), and high-level weathered terrac e
the bedrock source for laterite deposits containin g deposits occur that may be as old as middle Tertiary i n
nickel, iron and cobalt . Plutonic bodies of any siz e age .
are rare . The oldest rocks in the area are included in th e Erosion surfaces bearing residual and transported lat-
Bermeja Complex of Mattson (1960) which contain s eritic earth are relics of ancient sea stands to levels as hig h
the serpentinite as well as amphibolite, chert, and meta- as perhaps 800 meters (Weaver, 1960, 1968) . One of th e
morphosed volcanic rocks . The Bermeja probably i s more prominent of these surfaces is about 600 meter s
Early Cretaceous in age . elevation in central Puerto Rico, and has been assigned
Overlying the Bermeja Complex is a sequence of lava , a tentative Miocene age (Briggs, 1960) . Most of the ero -
agglomerate, marine limestone, mudstone, and tuf f sion surfaces have been dissected extensively and som e
which is mostly if not entirely Late Cretaceous in age . have been warped . Stepped relationships suggest tha t
Resting on this sequence are strata of Paleocene an d some surfaces have been faulted . One nickeliferous lat-
Eocene age, including lavas, breccias, tuffs, and re - erite deposit (28-2) occupies a surface ranging from abou t
worked volcanic rocks (Mattson, 1960) . 15 to 100 m elevation, another (29-1) is on a surface tha t
The northeastern volcanic-plutonic subprovince rises from about 50 m on the west to about 400 m on th e
The northeastern volcanic-plutonic subpro ince i s east, and one of the smaller deposits (30-3) occurs a s
complex both structurally and stratigraphically . O n high as 880 m in elevation (Heidenreich and Reynolds ,
the west, lava and related volcaniclastic strata of prob- 1959) .
able Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian) age rest on a thic k METALLOGENIC MA P
sequence of well stratified tuff, breccia, and lava of un - Symbols .The map shows 184 mineral occurrences ,
certain age (Pease, 1968b) . On the east, breccias and prospects, small mines, and important ore deposits . The
2
nature of each occurrence or deposit is shown on the ma p this cluster is genetically distinct from the larger grou p
by a colored symbol and on the accompanying listing b y of copper deposits to the southwest .
a corresponding alphanumeric code . The symbol an d Manganese deposits and small copper veins occu r
code describe the metal or metals contained in the de - discontinuously along the southwest flank of the centra l
posit, the nature of the plutonic igneous rock that is mos t volcanic-plutonic subprovince and are most numerous
closely associated with the deposit, and the type of hydro - around the Juana Daz manganese mine (48-3) near th e
thermal alteration that accompanied the mineralization . south coast of the island . These deposits contain mainl y
The size of the deposit and its geologic type are shown , secondary manganese oxides and copper carbonates ,
as well as the type and age of the volcanic or sedimentar y and the nature of their hypogene minerals is not clear .
host rocks . Remnants of rhodonite, quartz, calcite and epidote are
Ore and gangue minerals are listed on the map for mos t present in two of the manganese deposits, and nativ e
of the localities, but stress is laid on the primary mineral s copper, tetrahedrite(?), and chalcocite are found at on e
of the deposit rather than on those produced durin g of the copper occurrences (14-2) . Two other small man-
weathering . All copper deposits on the island contai n ganese deposits and a copper occurrence (21-1, 21-2 ,
some malachite or azurite, for example, and all of th e 21-3) are found on the north flank of the central sub-
manganese deposits are composed mainly of comple x province . This suggests that manganese and associate d
oxide minerals . Repetitious listing of these minerals i s copper mineralization was controlled by the two majo r
avoided . zones of transcurrent faults that separate the subprov-
The accompanying listing shows, in addition to th e inces .
code, the map number, latitude and longitude and bib- Nickel, iron, and cobalt are concentrated in lateriti c
liographic references for each point . For deposits o f soils overlying the serpentine bodies in the southwester n
wide areal extent, the latitude and longitude represen t subprovince . Intensive chemical weathering produce d
the approximate center of the deposit . the soils, residually enriched in metals .
The metallogenic code and symbol system is modifie d Dolomite is present in moderate to large quantities i n
from the system adopted by the North American Metal- the Northern Limestone Province (Vzquez and others ,
logenic Map Committee . Modifications, which wer e 1957) . The largest potential source of dolomite is Isla d e
necessary because of the small size and limited numbe r Mona which apparently is composed chiefly of a calciti c
of geologic environments of the map area and the abs- dolomite unit capped by a relatively thin limestone unit .
sence of certain types of deposits, have resulted in th e Isla de Mona also is the site of small to moderate-size d
omission of some numbers from the code used herein . cave phosphorite or guano deposits . This material form s
In general, however, this map is compatible with th e deposits locally as thick as 3 .5 m on the floors of caves
metallogenic maps of Central America (at 1 :2,000,000 ) which are developed chiefly in the lower 10 m of the lime -
and North America (at 1 :5,000,000) . stone unit where this zone crops out in the steep cliffs tha t
Interpretation .On examination of the map, a few surround the island. Map symbols on the island sho w
clusters, trends and associations of mineral occurrence s points where samples analyzed as dolomite have bee n
can be seen that have interesting geologic connotations . collected and show also the chief caves from which phos -
For example, copper deposits and occurrences form a n phorite was mined in the period 1877 to 1924 .
almost continuous belt along the south side of the Utuad o
batholith . Chalcopyrite is the main hypogene ore min -
eral ; magnetite and pyrite are abundant gangue minerals . PUBLISHED SOURCE S
Molybdenite is a rare associate of chalcopyrite . Hydro - Ackerman, D . H ., 1970, Mining : Industrial Puerto Rico ,
thermal alteration is widespread along this belt, an d v . 7, no . 1, p . 10-17, 64-66 .
altered quartz diorite porphyry is the host rock in the lar - Bergey, W . R ., 1966, Geochemical prospecting for cop-
gest deposits at Tanam (17-3) and Rio Viv (32-8, 32 - per in Puerto Rico, in Caribbean Geol . Conf ., 3d ,
10) . Probably all of these deposits are younger than th e Kingston, Jamaica, 1962, Tran . : Jamaica Geol . Survey
Utuado batholith which locally is itself hydrothermall y Pub . 95, p . 113-119 .
altered and mineralized . Rather the deposits are mos t Berkey, C . P ., 1915, Geological reconnaissance of Port o
closely associated with Eocene porphyry stocks whic h Rico : New York Acad . Sci . Annals, v . 26, p . 1-70 .
were intruded along the flank of the batholith . Berryhill, H . L ., Jr ., 1965, Geology of the Ciales quad -
Occurrences of zinc and zinc-copper in small veins are rangle, Puerto Rico : U .S . Geol . Survey Bull . 1184 ,
roughly peripheral to this belt as would be expected in a 116 p .
typical zonal relationship . Berryhill, H . L ., Jr ., and Glover, Lynn 3d, 1960, Geology
Another cluster of points is found associated with th e of the Cayey quadrangle, Puerto Rico : U .S . Geol .
Morovis stock . Small veins, containing digenite or chal- Survey Misc . Geol . Inv . Map I-319 .
copyrite-bornite, or sphalerite-galena-barite in a Briggs, R . P ., 1960, Laterization in east-central Puert o
gangue of quartz, carbonates and zeolites, are foun d Rico : Caribbean Geol . Conf ., 2d, Mayagez, Puert o
around the exposed south side of this stock and of th e Rico, 1959, Tran ., p . 103-119 .
small neighboring pluton to the west . High silver values 1961, Geology of Kewanee Interamerican Oi l
are characteristic of these occurrences and suggest that Company test well number 4CPR, northern Puert o
3
Rico in Oil and gas possibilities of northern Puerto Glover, Lynn, 3d, 1961, Preliminary report on the geol-
Rico : San Juan, Puerto Rico Mining Comm ., p . 1-23 . ogy of the Coamo quadrangle, Puerto Rico : U .S . Geol .
1964, Provisional geologic map of Puerto Ric o Survey Misc . Geol . Inv . Map I-335 .
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Inv . Map I-392 . thrust and transcurrent faulting during the early Ter-
_1966, The blanket sands of northern Puerto tiary in south-central Puerto Rico : U .S . Geol . Survey
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p . 60-69 . Puerto Rico, in Changes in stratigraphic nomenclatur e
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rangle, Puerto Rico : U .S . Geol . Survey Misc . Geol . cobalt-iron-bearing deposits in Puerto Rico : U .S .
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1935, The magnetite deposit near Humacao , 1959b, Geology of Isla Mona, Puerto Rico ,
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4
Meyerhoff, H . A ., 1931, The geology of the Fajardo dis- _1968b, Geologic map of the Naranjito quad-
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Obras Pblicas Puerto Rico, ao 10, no . 9, p . 489-491 . reau of Mines on the mineral resources of Puerto
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Meyerhoff, H . A ., and Frazier, J . E ., 1945, Glass san d and Minerals, v . 16, no . 11, p . 404-405 .
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Rico : New York Acad . Sci ., Sci . Survey Porto Ric o quadrangle, Puerto Rico : U .S . Geol . Survey Misc .
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Mitchell, R . C ., 1954, A survey of the geology of Puert o 1917b, Geologic map of the Gurabo quad -
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Monroe, W . H ., 1964, Large retrogressive landslides ' i n Semmes, D . R ., 1919, The geology of the San Juan dis-
north-central Puerto Rico : U .S . Geol . Survey Prof. trict, Porto Rico : New York Acad . Sci ., Sci . Surve y
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1966, Stratigraphic relations and sedimenta- Smith, R . J ., and Hildebrand, F . A ., 1953, Occurrenc e
tion of the Oligocene and Miocene formations o f of alunite and pyrophyllite in Puerto Rico [abs .] : Geol .
northern Puerto Rico, in Caribbean Geol . Conf ., 3d, Soc . Americ Bull ., v . 64, no . 12, pt . 2, p . 1476 .
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-1967, Geologic map of the Quebradillas quad - Vzquez, Leovigildo, 1960, Geology and ore deposits o f
rangle, Puerto Rico : U .S . Geol . Survey Misc . Geol . the Keystone iron mine near Juncos, Puerto Rico :
Inv . Map I-498 . Puerto Rico Econ . Devel . Admin ., Dept . Indus . Re-
1968, The karst features of northern Puert o search, Bull . 7, 29 p .
Rico : Natl . Speleol . Soc . Bull ., v . 30, no . 3, p . 75-86 . Vzquez, Leovigildo, Mndez, Oscar, and Padr ,
Nelson, A . E ., 1967a, Geologic map of the Coroza l Rafael, 1957, Preliminary report on calcitic dolomit e
quadrangle, Puerto Rico : U .S . Geol . Survey Misc . of northern Puerto Rico : Puerto Rico Econ . Devel .
Geol . Inv . Map 1-473 . Admin ., Dept, Indus . Research, Bull . 5, 5 p .
_1967b, Geologic map of the Utuado quad- Wadsworth, F . H ., 1954, Nuestra isla del Tesoro (Isl a
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5
UNPUBLISHED DAT A J . M . Aaro n Kennecott Copper Corporation
American Meta l A . F . Koebl
Climax Corporatio n P . H . Mattso n
In addition to data derived from published source s H . M . Bannerma n D . H . McIntyr e
much information was obtained from unpublished re - W . R . Berge y J . P . Owen s
ports, maps and personal communication . Extensiv e J . F . Cadill a M . H . Pease, Jr .
mineral resources data collected by the late Carl H . J . Van N . Dorr I I V . M . Seider s
Broedel during the period 1957 to 1959 formed th e Lynn Glover II I T . R . Slodowsk i
basic framework around which this compilation wa s W . L . Heidenreic h M . D . Turne r
made . Other contributors of unpublished data are : C . A . Kaye L . Vzque z