Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Field Trip Guidebook T175, San Salvador Island, Bahamas July 2–7, 1998


Although isolated and small in size, San Salvador Island is in many ways a unique place - an all carbonates setting on a small, tectonically stable platform, surrounded by deep oceanic waters, and an historical footnote as the widely accepted first landing site of Christopher Columbus in the New World in 1492. Columbus' stay here was brief, and the major events of subsequent history largely have passed San Salvador by. This is not a tourist island; the natural beauty, floras, and faunas of the Bahamas are well preserved here.

The overview theme of this series of field excursions on San Salvador will be interpretation of paleodepositional environments for the well-exposed Pleistocene and Holocene carbonate rocks that cap the island and recognition of modem analogues from the varied carbonate environments found on the island and its surrounding shelf. Questions of sea level history, diagenetic change, and the surficial processes operating on carbonate island terranes also will be considered. Our trip will begin with a low-attitude overflight to view features of the main Bahama platform enroute to San Salvador, which lies just beyond the eastern edge of the platform.

The field trip leaders all have been working on San Salvador and elsewhere in the Bahamas for the past decade. We have experienced the good and the bad - a pleasant tropical climate, warm and alive marine waters, a generally unspoiled setting, and the friendly Bahamian people, along with sometimes fierce "no-see-um" attacks, sun-burnt skin, and unexpected soakings from tropical storms. Throughout, the experiences have been rewarding and the challenges of geologic interpretation great. We look forward to sharing some of our findings and experiences with you. Welcome to the Bahamas and San Salvador Island!

See other Smith authored Field Trip Guides of Gerace Research Centre.


Copyright 1989 American Geophysical Union


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