St. Kitts and Nevis contain some of the most amazing stones in the Caribbean.
In this article, you’ll learn more about the geology of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Types of Rocks Found on St. Kitts and Nevis
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St. Kitts and Nevis contain several types of volcanic rock that have created striking scenery on the island. Basalt, Andesite, Tuff and Breccia are all present on the island and has created a very fertile soil for farming. There are also examples of limestone on the island.
St. Kitts and Nevis both have mountainous terrain. The volcanic soil on the slopes of the mountains have created rich farmland.
Much of the island of St. Kitts is covered in tropical jungle growing over the remains of eroded volcanoes that helped form the island.
While many islands in Lesser Antilles do not have rich soil that can support agriculture, but St. Kitts and Nevis do have large areas of fertile volcanic soil.
St. Kitts is the home of Mt. Liamuiga which is a mysterious volcano with an unknown volcanic history. There is some evidence to suggest that it may still be active and may erupt in the future.
The Black Rock formation on the Northern coast of St. Kitts is a stunning tourist destination.
The strikingly dark colored rocks are a result of a lava flow from Liamuiga, the largest volcano on the island.
The rocks were formed long ago when lava flowed from an eruption of the volcano and cooled when it reached the sea.
There is a newly renovated visitor center with a large viewing deck where you can see the volcanic rock that has been shaped by the wind and water of the ocean.
Breccia is a sedimentary rock that has visible large chunks of minerals that have been cemented together.
The breccia on St. Kitts and Nevis is formed when volcanic rock is broken up and reincorporated into the lava flow that cements it together into a new rock.
Breccia can be very beautiful with many color and composition variations.
Breccia can be identified by the presence of large rocks embedded in a fine matrix holding multiple stones together.
Breccia is different from other types of conglomerate rocks because the pieces of stone are not rounded, but rather have retained their sharp edges and natural break pattern.
This indicates that the rock was formed quickly. The islands are geologically very young.
Basalt is a rock that is formed when lava cools quickly after being extruded to the surface of the Earth on air or water.
Basalt is generally dark in color and can contain air pockets or vesicles that give it a very porous appearance and makes it light for its size.
Much of the Basalt found on St. Kitt is porphyritic meaning that it contains large crystals that may be visible without magnification.
The dark color of basalt is one of the easiest ways to identify the rock.
Andesite is a igneous rock that is formed in the same way as basalt, lava cooling quickly. Andesite is lighter in color but has the same fine grained texture as basalt.
Andesite and basalt are very fine grained rocks and identifying them by their content is often inconvenient so you can generally identify the two by their color.
Andesite is lighter in color and ranges from light gray to dark gray while basalt is often dark gray to black.
The Andesite on St. Kitts have been observed to have a green color or tint.
Limestone is a light colored soft stone that can easily be scratched with the point of a knife. The stone is formed when calcium rich ocean sediments become solid rock.
Limestone is generally light yellow to gray with a fine texture and regular fine grained appearance. On the coastline on St. Kitts you can see large limestone boulders that have been shaped by wind and water into large rounded shapes in a process called karast.
Limestone blocks can also be found on the coast of Nevis. The limestone here often contains multiple fossils.
You can identify fossils in the limestone as areas of discoloration or smooth textured areas in the stone. You may also have fossils if you see multiple holes in a piece of limestone.
It is interesting to note that many islands in the Lesser Antilles have limestone caps with volcanic rock foundation, but here on St. Kitts and Nevis the limestone is mainly found on coastlines.
On Nevis the highest point is Nevis Peak which is the largest and considered the primary volcanic cone, but the breakdown from this mountain and the other parasitic volcanoes that were once on the island has created the fertile soil on the island.
This indicates that the volcanic activity on the island occurred after the island had emerged from the ocean.
I wanted to note that because of the formation of the islands you may find many types of conglomerate rocks.
Some of the volcanoes that formed the island erupted and created volcanic domes of igneous rocks. These domes later collapsed and the rocks that made them up became cemented together into various types of rocks.
The rocks created in these geological events flowed in the waters as it filled the collapsed domes. This created pyroclastic, fluvial and lacustrine deposits of rocks.
These rocks may have a rounded appearance and be cemented together in a mix of fine grain sediment.
These rock flows are present along the middle of St. Kitts and some of those rocks have broken down to create the rich soil that gives the island its beautiful green appearance.
Rocks on St. Kitts and Nevis
The small islands of St Kitts and Nevis offer volcanic rocks of many types and a beautiful Caribbean experience.
Most of the rocks to be found on St. Kitts and Nevis can be found on the coastline. Spend time hiking and exploring the island.
While there are no protected natural reserve areas on St. Kitts and Nevis, there are efforts to preserve its natural beauty.
Do not collect sand, stones or shells in areas where there are posted signs prohibiting the collection of natural items.
Be sure that you declare any items that you collected to customs when leaving the island.
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