The Lesser Antilles

The Lesser Antilles

The Lesser Antilles

The Lesser Antilles

Excerpt

The insular chain of the Lesser Antilles, including twenty-five larger islands and an uncounted number of smaller ones, forms a curve about five hundred miles in length between Porto Rico in latitude 18° and Trinidad in latitude 10°. It is interesting to note that they afford the only instance on the Atlantic side of North America of an island festoon, or arc, such as is repeated several times off the Pacific coast of Asia. These arcs undoubtedly express an important deep-seated deformation of the earth's crust. In their local structural relations the Lesser Antilles are mostly composed of volcanic rocks, and some of the islands are still afflicted with explosive eruptions. These eruptions, in spite of their destructive violence, add little to the island volume. An uncounted number of such eruptions must have taken place in the building up of the islands from their ocean-bottom foundation, which appears to have been subsiding during and after their growth and which may have long ago formed a land bridge to South America. Most of the islands show submarine enlargement in shallow banks, probably formed with the aid of coral reefs as will be explained below. Several of the lower islands consist largely or wholly of calcareous strata . . .

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