Types of Rocks Found in Haiti: A Guide to the 8 Most Common You Will See

The Nation of Haiti is part of the formation called Hispanola.

Hispaniola is made up of limestone, volcanic rock and alluvium.

The island has a great variety of limestone, ophiolite, volcanic alkali basalt, siltstone and marl. 

The composition of Hispaniola which supports Haiti and the Dominican Republic has many examples of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. 

These rock formations leave plenty of beautiful stones, gemstones and minerals to be discovered all over the island.  

Types of Rocks Found in Haiti


The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.


Haiti contains many examples of Alkali Basalts. 

These dark colored volcanic rocks are made up of many smaller rocks of various sizes. They are described as porphyritic rocks. 

You may see light colored pieces of stone embedded in dark colored rock. These large light colored crystals are called phenocrysts.

You can see on this simple geological map of Haiti that the deposits of volcanic rock are smaller and located mainly north of Hinche. 


Siltstone is also called aleurolite. It is a sedimentary rock that can vary in color and has a lack of visible layers. 

Siltstone is made up of fine grains of quartz or other fine grained materials. It has a notable absence of visible layers. 

Siltstone is found in southern Haiti in what is described as calcareous olistostrome deposits that are within rock that is primarily made of ash.  

The  deposits contain basaltic debris from the volcanic rock and dark chert, radiolarian chert siliceous and limestone.  

Because the materials that make up the siltstone found in Haiti are generally very dark in color. 

Fossilized Coral

Haiti being an island nation contains plenty of fossils from marine life. 

When coral dies it leaves a beautiful large calcium carbonate skeleton that can be incorporated into the formation of limestone in the warm water. 

You may also find a piece of coral that has washed to shore. It is made up of layers of calcium carbonate that are incredibly hard. 

Coral fossils will be very light in color and very porous. You will notice a regular pattern in the coral and you will find the coral fairly light for its size. 

You can expect to find coral among the large limestone deposits on the island. More than half of the island is made of predominantly limestone. 

Do not be surprised to find marine fossils far inland. 


Haiti has a large limestone deposit on the Plateau Centrale. The deposit is rich in Alluvium which is a deposit of clay, silt and soil that is produced by the flowing of water and results in good rich soil. 

The material that makes up the alluvium can be compacted into marl. 

Marl is light colored and made up of evenly sized fine grains. 

Marl can also be called marlstone and it is part of the Hinche Formation in Haiti. The Hinche Formation is made up of limestone in various stages of consolidation. 

The formation of the limestone led geologists to believe that the island was geologically young, but further study has shown that to be untrue.  


Metavolcanic rock is rock that is produced by the hardening of lava. These rocks have not changed after being released by volcanic action. 

Metavolcanic rock is porous and dark in color. The surface color is generally very regular in color with very little variation. 

Metavolcanic rock discovered in Haiti made it obvious to scientists that the rock that supports Hispaniola was much older than originally believed.  


Gneiss is granite that has been subject to heat and pressure. 

In Haiti Gneiss can be found in  Massif du Nord. It has a layered appearance and is a large grained rock. 

The rock has an uneven cleavage pattern like granite. 

Gneiss can be used to describe many kinds of smaller and larger grained metamorphic rock. Gneiss stones can be classified by their main components. 

Mica Schist

Schist is rock that is formed into thin layers that are easily seen with the naked eye. These layers may be easily flaked apart by hand or with tools. 

This layering is called schistosity. 

Mica is a particular type of schist that splits into almost perfect thin layers. 

Mica naturally breaks up as it makes its way to the surface and it is common to find pieces of mica embedded in other sedimentary or metamorphic rock. 

The iridescent look of the rock is often ground into powder to add shine to cosmetics. 

It can also be used to make a more environmentally friendly glitter. 

White Marble

The beautiful white marble stone formed by volcanic activity can be found in the western part of Île de la Tortue. 

White marble is bright white with gray veins running through the rock. 

White marble has been used for many hundreds of years for sculpture and useful tools like bowls and recently countertops. 

Collecting Rocks in Haiti

As a general rule, do not take any samples or remove any natural material from Haiti without first asking a tour guide, employee or other official. 

The goal is to preserve the natural environment so that it can be enjoyed and studied by future researchers and geology enthusiasts. 

It is important to read and obey all posted signs regarding collection of rocks, sand or shells. 

Geological research is ongoing on Haiti, there is much that is just being discovered on the island and there are several active mining operations. 

After the earthquakes in 2010 and 2021 new gologicial information has been discovered. 

You may be able to buy geological souvenirs in tourist shops, but be sure to declare them when you enter the US. Even if you legally purchased something in Haiti it may not be permitted within the country. 

Types of Rocks on Haiti 

Haiti is a beautiful place to find a large variety of rocks. The island has examples of many types of rocks and it has many areas that have not been extensively explored by tourists. 

The main rocks on Haiti come from the marine life or the volcanic action of the island. 

The meeting of water and fire. 

This makes Haiti a rich place to find examples of stones and in more recent years there has been a discovery of precious metals; gold, silver, and copper. 

The geological formations in Haiti are mirrored in the Dominican Republic. 

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Types of Rocks Found in Haiti