To begin with, I had never been to the Dominican Republic before; it was actually my first time in another Caribbean island other than my own, Puerto Rico. I did not know what to expect, but I ended up with a very good impression of the island and its people! There were many things I liked, for example, there seems to be a lot of land dedicated to agriculture (which I think is awesome), the food was delicious and of course, the geology is very interesting!!
The focus of the trip to the DR was to collect rock samples and fossils from Early Cretaceous limestones as part of the thesis project of my friend and colleague Alvin Bonilla-Rodriguez from the Geology Department at the University of Kansas. Our collecting efforts were mainly focused in the central part of the country where Albian-age limestones occur. We stayed most of the time near the towns of Bonao in the Monseñor Nouel Province and in Hato Mayor del Rey in Hato Mayor Province. Other people that joined us during our time there were: Luis Gonzalez from the Department of Geology at the University of Kansas (and Alvin’s advisor) and Wilson Ramírez and Hernán Santos from the Department of Geology at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez. The Servicio Geológico Nacional and its director Santiago Muñoz Tapia were also very helpful in terms of logistics and advise.
At first it was hard finding good outcrops, some were heavily overgrown and in other occasions our compact car was obviously ill-fitted for some of the roads we needed to go through. But, by about the middle of our first week we finally found some outcrops, not the best, but it was a start!
Our luck got better when we moved east towards Hato Mayor. There we found a very nice outcrop (with lots of fossils) of the Hatillo Limestone! The fossils were very important, specially the rudist, for determining the age of the rocks. And yes, we were in the Albian!
Well, this is it for this first post. Remember there are more to come, so stick around! On the next post we’ll move from the Albian, to the Miocene!