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Find Your Science at GSA
17 October 2013
GSA Release No. 13-63
Kea Giles
Managing Editor,
GSA Communications
Special Paper 496
Dominica was one of the filming locations for Pirates of the Caribbean II and III.

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New GSA Book Details Dominica's Unique Features and Hazards

Boulder, Colorado, USA – Dominica, a Caribbean island in the Lesser Antilles, features rugged topography and a vulnerability to volcanic and volcano-seismic activity. This new GSA Special Paper provides a review of past geological studies of the island and illustrates extensive field work. Because of this work, the 2005 geologic map of Dominica has been revised, and island officials now have a better understanding of existing volcanic and seismic hazards by which to construct an island-wide crisis management plan.

Beginning their field work in 2001, the book’s authors made a thorough study of the island via boat, taking more than 3,000 photos, many of which are reproduced in the book, along with figures and maps on almost every page. Part of the impetus for the author’s long-time work on Dominica is that it shows unique characteristics not seen on other islands in the Lesser Antilles island arc or on many island arcs worldwide.

These unique features include present-day island-wide seismic and geothermal activity as well as the eruption of rocks, since the upper Pleistocene, of a very restricted compositional range from multiple centers throughout the island.

This volume presents the results of geological mapping, detailed stratigraphy, petrography/mineral chemistry, and geochemistry that have allowed the authors to develop a model to explain these features. The model, which traces the development of the island since the upper Miocene, suggests that during the Pleistocene, partial melting of the island-arc crust eventually generated a single magma body of batholithic proportions beneath the island.

The distinctive phenomena from Dominica are therefore thought to reflect the volcanic and related responses associated with the formation and development of this unexposed batholith.

The authors of this GSA Special Paper hail from the University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez, The University of Texas at Arlington, California State University, and Miami University.

Individual copies of the volume may be purchased through The Geological Society of America online bookstore,, or by contacting GSA Sales and Service, . Book editors of earth science journals/publications may request a review copy by contacting April Leo, .

The Volcanic Geology of the Mid-Arc Island of Dominica, Lesser Antilles—The Surface Expression of an Island-Arc Batholith
By A.L. Smith, M.J. Roobol, G.S. Mattioli, J.E. Fryxell, G.E. Daly, and L.A. Fernandez
Geological Society of America Special Paper 496
SPE496, 249 p., $70.00; Member price $49.00
ISBN 978-0-8137-2496-6