Within the last few weeks I’ve had several requests for available resources on Cuban geology. The requests, of course, have come from individuals outside of the U.S.A. Guess that they sense opportunities for working with and understanding Cuba’s geology that we are backing away from. In any case, I’ve sent the requests on to Manuel Iturralde-Vinet, the person who has worked and published an immense amount of information regarding Cuba’s geology. Manuel has now sent me back an updated list of resources and said:
If you’ve ever thought about Cuban geology, now may be the time to get serious about actually going to Cuba and looking at it. As a U.S. citizen, it’s been extremely difficult to legally go to Cuba. I went there in March of 2013 as part of an Association for Women Geoscientists’s geological field trip that we did through the travel company Insight Cuba. It was a very good trip. Our geological guide was Manuel Iturralde, a retired curator from the National Museum of Natural History in Havana and current President of the Cuban Geological Society. Manuel’s knowledge of Cuba’s geology is immense and consequently the geology part of the trip was amazing. But – because I am a U.S. citizen, my travel at that time was done under the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, initially imposed in 1960. That meant to be fully legal I had to travel to Cuba via a licensed “people-to-people” travel agency. The people-to-people visits involve booking a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities for each traveler that will bring about a “meaningful interaction” between the travelers and Cubans – and hence the time for geology is limited. Additionally, the places one can go in Cuba were also limited. For example, U.S. citizens could not visit “tourist” areas, and thus areas of geological interest such as most beach geology was off limits during my tour.
President Obama’s 12/17/2014 announcement on easing of Cuba travel restrictions may well help out those interested in seeing Cuban geology. According to the White House Fact Sheet – Charting A New Course on Cuba -, “general licenses will be made available for all authorized travelers in 12 existing categories”, two of which – professional research and professional meetings and educational activities – will help for improving the quality of travel for earth scientists. However, I talked with a person from Insight Cuba today about the new travel requirements, and they said, “a traveler still needs to get a license from OFAC (U.S. Office of Foreign Assests Control), and it still might take about 2 months to get the license”. Unfortunately, in the Insight Cuba rep’s opinion, not much has yet changed for travel to Cuba. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see on what transpires with this in the near future.
But – as I said earlier in this blog, it still may be a good time to think about geology-based travel to Cuba. Manuel Iturralde recently emailed me an announcement for The Cuban Society of Geology’s VI Cuban Convention on Earth Sciences and Exhibition of Products, Services and New Technologies – GEOEXPO 2015 – May 4 – 8, 2015, in Havana. This should be a excellent convention and good way to be introduced to Cuba’s geology.
Just to mention a couple other earth science resources for potential travelers:
This version of the Cuban Digital Library of Geosciences brings together some 3700 references, 2091 in digital format, most of the published contributions, unpublished lesser extent, the existence of which the authors are aware. The topics cover the various branches of Earth Sciences, with emphasis on geology, geophysics and mining Cuba, or in any way relevant to the best knowledge of Cuban territory, although centrally relate to other geographies. These contributions include books, monographs and scientific articles, a few summaries and maps dating from 1535. Some very important unpublished documents are referenced as are available at the National Bureau of Mineral Resources (ONRM), the Centre National Geological Information ( CNIG ), the map library and collection of science in the National Library José Martí; and library (1989), Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas at Austin. In the year 2012 was published a list of Information Centers Geosciences across the country and how to access them.
Journeying Through Cuba’s Geology and Culture: This is a brief article that I wrote for the “Travels in Geology” section of Earth magazine (published July/August 2013) about my trip through western and central Cuba with the Association for Women Geoscientists in March 2013.
For those interested in Cuban geology, Manuel Iturralde-Vinent, President of the Cuban Geological Society, just informed me that the 2013 Yearbook of the Cuban Society of Geology (Volume 1, No. 1, 2013. ISSN 2310-0060, Scientific Journal of Geosciences, Havana) is now online. The papers in the yearbook are listed separately on the Cuban Digital Geoscience Library website. The individual papers in this volume are (pdf links for each paper are available on the website):
Chang Rodríguez, A. 2013. Geochemical results that characterize new saprolitic profile nickel deposit altered to “San Felipe “, Havana, Cuba. Yearbook of the Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1: 39-46.Delgado Lopez, O., JG López Rivera, O. Pascual Fernández, J.O. López Quintero, Z. Dominguez Sardinas. 2013. Petroleum systems and plays complementary in Havana-Corralillo region. Implications for oil exploration. Yearbook of the Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1: 1-12. George De Armas, E., A. Espinosa Creme, AM Rodríguez, M. Legon, S. López Guerra. 2013. Methodology for integrated assessment performance fluid systems for drilling wells oil. Yearbook of the Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1: 33-38. JE Herrera Gómez, O. Morán Rodríguez. 2013. Methodology for oil risk analysis and decision making. Case study strip north of heavy crude-Seboruco Guanabo, Cuba sector. Yearbook Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1: 23-32. Gómez Rodríguez, L., R. Fuentes Caceres, B. Sosa Navarro. 2013. Influence of natural zeolite in enhancing technology for the production of cane sugar. Yearbook of the Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1: 79-82. Iturralde-Vinent, M.A. 2013. Stratigraphy of North Fold Belt of Cuba. Yearbook of the Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1: 97-136. Lastra Cunill, M., E. Cordero Camejo, G. Fernández Ameijeiras. 2013. Bispectral analysis speed early in the processing seismic. Yearbook of the Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1:19-22. Morales Echevarria, C., EA George De Armas, S. and D. García López Guerra Delgado. 2013. Characterization by instrumental methods oil fields seal of the northern fringe of heavy crude, Cuba. Yearbook of the Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1: 13-17. Nunez Mora, J.C. 2013. Use of Spatial Data Infrastructure in designing disaster risk scenarios. Yearbook of the Society Cuban Geology, No. 1: 151-155. Peña Abreu, RE, L. Fernández Martínez, AI Rivas Salas, Y. Castañeda Ferrer, Y. Vilche Cuenca, N. and M. Espinosa Pérez Melo Frómeta. 2013. Methodology for evaluation in retrospective samples technology. Yearbook of the Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1: 47-58. Rocamora Alvarez, E. 2013. Criteria for the characterization of factors auditors slope stability in mountain areas. Yearbook Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1: 145-150. Rojas Consuegra, R. and R. Denis Valle. 2013. Influence on climate of Cuban Paleogene turbidite systems, as recorded by Cuban stratigraphy. Yearbook of the Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1: 83-94. Santa Cruz Pacheco, M., D. De La Nuez Columbus, AI Castro Llanes, C. Capote Marrero. 2013. The microtextural features as support criteria and magmatic chromitites postmagmáticos in Camagüey. 59-64. Zafra Torres, J.L. 2013. Prospects for base and precious metals in the Cretaceous Volcanic Arc of central Cuba. Yearbook of the Cuban Society of Geology, No. 1: 65-78. Vega Garriga, N., ED Arango Arias, Y. Martínez Ríos, A. Núñez Labañino, C. Pérez Pérez, K. Núñez Cambra, Balangue JA Zapata, J. Perez Rueda. 2013. Valuations of seismicity occurring around New World Dam in the town of Moa. Yearbook of the Cuban Society Geology, No. 1: 137-143.
The Cuban Digital Geoscience Library, compiled by Yasmani Ceballos Izquierdo and Manuel Iturralde-Vinet, is now available at www.redciencia.cu/geobiblio/inicio.html. This is an extremely complete compendium of resources on Cuban geology – one that I wish I had access to before I went on geology/”people to people” tour to Cuba last March that was sponsored by the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG). Manuel Iturralde-Vinet (one of the co-authors of the Cuban Digital Geoscience Library) was our geology guide for the AWG trip. That Manuel was our guide was fortunate for us given his extensive expertise in Cuban geology. For more information on our AWG trip, link to a trip article published by Earth magazine and to a previous blog on our Cuba journey posted on Geopostings.
Here’s a brief intro to the Cuban Digital Geoscience Library (using my sometimes loose translation skills):
The “Cuban Geoscience Digital Library” brings together a considerable number of references, most of the contributions published and unpublished to a lesser degree, the existence of which the authors are aware of (over 3000 references). The topics cover the various branches of Earth Science, with emphasis in geology, geophysics and mining Cuba, or in any way relevant to the best knowledge of Cuban territory and other geologically/geographically related areas. These contributions include books, monographs and scientific articles, abstracts and a few maps, dating from 1535. Some very important unpublished documents are referenced, and are available at the National Bureau of Mineral Resources (NDRA), the National Geological Information Center (IGP ), the map library and collection of science of José Martí National Library, and in the Institute for Geophysics Library, University of Texas at Austin.
The “Cuban Geoscience Digital Library” has several pioneering works, namely the literature on geology of Cuba News, released by Pablo Ortega (1910), the Cuban Scientific Library compiled by Trelles (1918), the Bibliography of West Indian Geology of Rutten (1938), the Cuban Geological Bibliography published by Peter J. Bermúdez (1938), Mining Bibliography of Colonial Cuba (Anonymous), Geology of the sketch on Cuba prepared by Antonio Calvache Dorado (1965), and the Compilation on Paleontology Publications (Bonzoño et al., 2008). Of these bibliographic lists, Bermudez and Trelles are noted for their excellent compilation of the oldest contributions.
The existence of many compilations on contributions to the geosciences of Cuba, made at different times, denotes the interest of researchers to present the results of their time, to facilitate future professionals, and to provide a computer database to serve as basis for their work. This compendium is also a broad recognition of the scientific work of several generations of outstanding professionals.
On this basis, the development of this “Cuban Geoscience Digital Library”, with the quality that current technologies can provide to users for accessing most texts and maps in digital format (pdf and jpg) was inspired, and thus for the first time puts a “click” access to this vast intelligence, particularly for the paper originals that are hard to acquire. A first version of this database was published as part of the “Compendium of Geology of Cuba and the Caribbean” in the 2010 and 2012 editions done by Manuel Iturralde-Vinet.
It’s not every day that you get the chance to go to Cuba, so when I found out that the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) was offering an organized trip there in March 2013, I jumped at the opportunity. The excursion — nearly two weeks of exploration of our southern neighbor’s geology and culture — did not disappoint.
Cuba is truly an extraordinary place – both geologically and culturally – and as I said at the end of the article:
I look forward to returning and seeing even more of Cuba’s geology.
As noted above in this post, AWG puts together some great geological field trips. The next one will be in September 2014, and it will be a geological field trip through the Canadian Rockies. More details on that will be uploaded to Geopostings as they become available.