Thursday, October 21, 2010

Camuy, Caves, and Karst

"Camuy" (kahm-WEE)
Welcome to Puerto Rico! (

"Camuy is known as 'La Ciudad Romántica' (romantic city) and 'La Ciudad del Sol Taíno' (city of the Taino sun). The town was founded in 1807, when it was disassociated from Arecibo by Petrolina Matos.

"It is said that Camuy derives its name from a word used by the Indians 'camuy', which means sun, at the same time others think that it was the name that the Indians gave to the river that crossed this region...."

Camuy is in northwest Puerto Rico, which someone described as a series of caves connected by limestone. Which the Lemming thinks sounds more picturesque than saying that karst landforms dominate the region. I'll get back to that.

This visitor-and-tourism-focused page discusses the Río Camuy Cave Park, right after some statistics and photos:

"...This incredible 268-acre park is the site of the great subterranean caverns carved out by the Camuy River over one million years ago. The impeccably maintained trails gently descend 200 feet through a fern filled ravine to the yawning, cathedral-like caverns. The caves are home to a unique species of fish that is totally blind. ... Rio Camuy Cave Park is the third-largest cave system in the world...."

The website has a pretty good discussion on the geography of Puerto Rico, on a page titled, appropriately enough, "Geography:"

"...Puerto Rico has three main physiographic regions: the mountainous interior, the coastal lowlands, and the karst area....

"...The third important physiographic feature is the karst region in the north. This area consists of formations of rugged volcanic rock dissolved by water throughout the geological ages. This limestone region is an extremely attractive zone of extensive mogotes or haystack hills, sinkholes, caves, limestone cliffs, and other karst features. The karst belt extends from Aguadilla, in the west, to a minor haystack hills formation in Loíza, just east of San Juan...."

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, not volcanic - and the page doesn't discuss what sort of volcanic rock is in the karst region. But it's still a pretty good introduction to Puerto Rico's land.

More, about rocks:

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