Activities performed in the Unit include:
- The collection of baseline geological information and upgrading this information to produce geological maps.
- Create and produce a geological database, which forms the basis for the exploration and exploitation of metallic and non-metallic minerals.
- Produce and disseminate geological information in the form of qualitative and quantitative engineering descriptions of rocks and soils to assist in civil engineering projects.
- Investigate, analyze and produce geological hazard information in a format that can be used by civil engineers, planners, developers, earth scientists and the general public.
- Process subdivision and development applications island wide to assist in the planning and development process.
The Research and Mapping Unit is mandated to collect, analyze and disseminate geological and geotechnical information.
Ongoing systematic mapping programs of the entire island is conducted to identify, analyse and interpret the extent and inter-relationship of all rock types. The base information is comprised of geological structures, rock types, composition, their stratigraphic succession and island wide distribution and therefore forms the basis from which other types of earth science studies can be carried out. Currently, work is continuing on upgrading the maps and producing information in digital format.
Engineering Geology and Geotechnics
The information provided is based on an analysis and interpretation of geological material, which enables rocks and soils to be differentiated in terms of their engineering characteristics. This information allows earth scientists, civil engineers and other professionals to have a better understanding of the effects of engineering and natural processes on the physical environment. This includes possible problems such as ground settlement, slope instability, subsidence and soil liquefaction.
Geological hazards comprise landslides, floods and earthquake. Landslides and floods affect Jamaica on a regular basis resulting in the loss of lives and destruction of property. Damaging earthquakes, although not as frequent, has the potential to unleash severe damage and disruption to economic life of the country if developments continue to be located in areas vulnerable to earthquake hazards.
The Unit is mandated to conduct damage assessment and investigate geological hazards, create geohazard database and produce hazard maps such as landslides and earthquakes, which will determine the level of hazard of a particular area or region.
This information will guide and assist planners, engineers and the public at large to plan their developments according to the level of exposure of the area. Over the past four (4) years, emphasis has been placed on the preparation and production of hazard maps because of the increase in demand for this type of information.