Caribbean Islands

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are three islands, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, located between 19°15" and 19°45"N, and 79°44" and 81°27"W. This is about 240km south of Cuba and 290km west of Jamaica. The island belong to the Cayman Ridge, an underwater mountain chain, where only three mountains are high enough to reach the water level. The ridge is surrounded by the Cayman Trough to the north and the Barlett Deep to the south, both are ocean floor about 4,000m deep. Unfortunately the lack of continental shelf prevents a fishing industry at Cayman.

The islands consist of limestone, two distinct formations, a core of bluff limestone surrounded ba a coastal limestone terrace called ironshore. The bluff limestone is the older one, formed during the Oligocene and Miocene, about 30 million years ago. It is heavily karstified. Ironshore was formed about 120,000 years ago during the Pleistocene. It consits of consolidated coral, mollusk shells and marl with some limestone.

All three islands are karstified, easy to see because of the lack of any river. They are drained underground. There are various caves, most of them on Cayman Brac. There are at least 18 caves, 5 of them are easy to visit and are recommended to tourists.