Geology of Belize

There are very few littoral caves as the coastlands are low and boggy and mainly mangrove swamp. There are many salt and fresh water lagoons and some sandy beaches. Most of the caves tend to be in the south west in the heavy forest mountain massive. The south is dominated by the granite Maya Mountains and the 1,120 m high Victoria Peak. This is surround by a mantle of Cretaceous limestone which contains the country's principal caves. To the west are some 650 km² Mountain Pine Ridge which contain small areas of limestone resting on granite.

Cave exploration in the country started between 300-900 AD by the Mayan Indians. There are no records until 1890 when explorers such as Thomas Gann and Karl Sapper published accounts. This was followed in 1920 with a report by A H Anderson a local archaeologist. Modern exploration commenced in 1958 and has mainly been carried out by expeditions from the USA and Canada.

Text by Tony Oldham (2004). With kind permission.