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Jamaica (and the other islands of the Antilles) is an island arc covered by thick limestone. It lies at the junction between two plates, the northern margin of the Caribbean Plate and the southern margin of the North American Plate.

At the meeting point between these two plates is the tectonically active east-west trending Cayman Trough which extends eastwards from the Gulf of Honduras to the east of Hispaniola. It lies immediately to the north of Jamaica and separates it from Cuba. Jamaica itself is an emergent part of the Nicaraguan Rise, which is a broad, dominantly submerged belt of crustal thickening extending from Honduras to Jamaica.

Thick limestone sequences are present onshore and offshore and many oil and gas seeps have been recognised as well as oil and gas shows in both onshore and offshore wells. However, Globalshift considers that there are few trapping possibilities and limited cap rocks in the sedimentary succession, which is dominated by limestones. Furthermore the active tectonic history since the Middle Miocene has probably destroyed older accumulations of oil and gas.

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