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Surface and subsurface geologic data indicate that Lower Cretaceous extrusive and intrusive igneous rocks underlie Jamaica. No unmetamorphosed Jurassic-Early Cretaceous sedimentary rocks are known on the island. Tectonic activities which have led to the deformation of the unmetamorphosed sedimentary rocks are divided into the Antillean and Caribbean orogenic events.
Folds in Jamaica are essentially noncompressive and are the result of growth faulting, with concomitant syndepositional subsidence of grabens being filled with Tertiary sediment. Major faults are left-lateral strike-slip and primarily of pre-Tertiary age, whereas younger Tertiary faults are of the normal-gravity type.
Sedimentary rocks in western Jamaica are dominantly shallow-water and deltaic sequences. The existence of biohermal carbonate communities and nearshore sandstones and siltstones, as locally observed in outcrops, are also indicative of a shallow marine environment. However, in eastern Jamaica, sediments were deposited in deeper water environments and are of a more eugeosynclinal nature.
Data obtained from the exploratory wells indicate a north and northwestward decrease in metamorphism accompanied by an increase in the marine nature of the sections. A large volume of sedimentary rocks derived primarily from erosion of volcanic piles was deposited in Jamaica in the Late Cretaceous. Most of these volcanic materials probably were supplied from the south and east where intrusive and extrusive activities were abundant.
Exploratory drilling to date has been concentrated on recognized surface and subsurface anticlinal traps. A thorough investigation indicates that the various requirements for accumulation of the commercial hydrocarbons are not present in any of those structures. In contrast, stratigraphic traps exist in Jamaica and are probably very abundant.
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