Scientific Studies of Coral Rock in Barbados

While researching the article on the Inverted Boulder at Bottom Bay I remembered that a test hole was drilled on the cliff overlooking Bottom Bay Beach.

Hans Machel told me that John Humphrey was involved in that project. I contacted John and he kindly supplied the following information.

Hi William,

Drilled by John Humphrey in 1988.
Drilled by John Humphrey in 1988.

I believe we drilled that well in 1988, along with one at Deebles Point and one at Golden Grove.

These were science wells that were intended to look at physical and geochemical  variability in the Coral Rock Formation.  The rocks have been subjected to interaction with seawater, fresh groundwater, and mixtures of those waters (aka, the mixing zone).

The mixing zone has interesting geochemical characteristics that can create porosity in limestone through dissolution (like the holes left behind after corals are dissolved out – you can clearly see this at Bottom Bay and Foul Bay).  

acropora cervicornis coral otherwise known as the staghorn coral
This coral is acropora cervicornis, otherwise known as the staghorn coral. These are common in both modern and Pleistocene reefs.

Those waters can also change the mineralogy of the limestone. So, we were interested in those matters.

In 1992, we drilled similar wells at Foul Bay and Shark Hole, pretty much investigating the same sorts of things.

This was all on the heels of the work my PhD advisor did all over the island from about 1968 to about 1979, with many other holes drilled.  I did most of my PhD around the outcrops in St. Philip, with special attention paid to Golden Grove.

Thanks to Hans Machel and John Humphrey for taking the time to reply to my many emails and answer my questions.

For a more detailed report on their findings see: Geology And Hydrogeology of Barbados by Dr. John D. Humphrey, Associate Professor, Dept. of Geology and Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

 

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