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Mexico: minerals and relief. Why is Mexico rich in minerals?

Mexico occupies the sixth place in the world in area, on its territory there are high mountains, deep hollows and plains. But it is not only remarkable. An amazing country is called the cradle of civilizations: at a time when Europe was still far from many scientific discoveries, the Maya Indians already applied their knowledge in astronomy, mathematics, alchemy and other sciences. Until now, many of the mysteries of this amazing and wise tribe remained unsolved.

The Indians knew about the rich bowels of their state, then it was not yet called "Mexico," they extracted minerals in an open way, processed them and used them on their farms. The Conquistador conquerors were amazed at how much local people had silver and precious stones, as well as iron.

The minerals of Mexico are very diverse. This is due to the fact that the country has volcanoes (both current and extinct). During the outflow, magma falls not only on the surface, but also inside the earth, where various processes occur and intrusive rocks are formed.

Geological structure

Why Mexico is rich in minerals can not be briefly considered, since there are a large number of different geological structures on the territory of the country that affect the formation of rocks.

The territory of Mexico is located on such large geological units as:

  1. Folded areas of the east, west - Sierra Madre.
  2. Paleozoic folding of the south of the Sierra Madre.
  3. Block of the Lower California Peninsula.
  4. Sonor block.
  5. Mexican trough.
  6. The Yucatan plate.

Folded areas of the east and west of the Sierra Madre

These are the largest structural elements of Mexico. The eastern folded zone of the Sierra Madre is at the northern latitude between 19 ° and 20 °. Between folding there are structures of the Transmexican volcanic belt, where there are many active volcanoes. They were formed by Neogene-Quaternary volcanics. In this area, one can distinguish the Mesozoic-Early Cenozoic folding, which occur on crystalline schists and Precambrian gneisses. The non-metamorphosed Paleozoic sedimentary deposits are represented by carbonate rocks of the Lower and Middle Paleozoic. Triassic and Jurassic colored sandstones, evaporites, argillites, clays and limestone form Mesozoic complexes.

The western folded zone of the Sierra Madre stretches from the northern border of Mexico to the volcanic belt. This folding is mainly composed of mainly volcanic Late Cretaceous, Cenozoic rocks, which include basalts and andesites. Deposits of copper, silver and lead-zinc ores can be confined to outcrop volcanic rocks of the Cretaceous period.

Paleozoic folding of the south of the Sierra Madre

This folded structure is located within the Transmexican fold belt and the shelf zone of the Pacific Ocean. Here, early Paleozoic intrusive and metamorphic rocks are distinguished , as well as Early Jurassic continental sedimentary strata, Jurassic marine deposits.

Block of the Lower California Peninsula

In the west of the block there are rocks of Mesozoic age, and most of them are occupied by granitoid batholiths. A layer of detrital volcanic and marine sediments passes above these formations. The Rift of the California Gulf is formed by complex fold-thrust structures.

Sonor block

The block is located between the Gulf of California and the western part of the Sierra Madre. It is composed of granitoids and metamorphic rocks of Precambrian origin, as well as carbonate rocks of the Ordovician-Carboniferous.

The Sonor block is characterized by the presence of chalky stocks of granites, hypabyssal rocks, where there are deposits of copper-porphyry ores.

Mexican bend

The Mexican advanced deflection is in front of the Cordillera folded belt. Most of the clastic rocks of the Paleogene and Neogene are found. Sloping structures in reef chalk limestones have accumulated hydrocarbon minerals.

The Yucatan plate

Completely composed of carbonates of the Neogene and Paleogene. Oil deposits are confined to the chalky rift deposits in the west of the plate.


From the geological structures depend the relief and minerals of Mexico. The relief of the country is quite complex: it contains mountains, plateaus and plains. Most of the country is occupied by the highlands and the inner plateau. In turn, the plateau is divided into two parts: Mesu Central and Mesu Severnuyu. The name "Mesa" comes from the Spanish "table".

Central Mesa is surrounded on all sides by mountain systems. It is almost completely covered with volcanic products, on this flat plain there are many basins of ancient lakes. Central Mesa reaches a height of 2600 meters to the south.

The Western Sierra Madre is a powerful mountain range, riddled with deep river canyons. The Sierra rises sharply as it moves toward the Gulf of California, but toward the inner plateau, the heights change gradually. Such sharp differences in elevation in the relief can be explained by the fact that there are numerous faults with a crystalline basement emerging on the surface. The tops of the mountains are smoothed by sedimentary rocks.

The California Peninsula is a narrow and mountainous land. The ridges reach 3000 meters above sea level.

Eastern Sierra Madre - a set of mountain ranges with heights from 1000 to 3000 m. The Sierra is covered with a thick sedimentary rocks. To the coastal lowland while moving to the east (towards the Gulf of Mexico), the mountains abruptly break off.

On the southern outskirts of Central Mesa from east to west is the Transverse Volcanic Sierra, the largest and highest mountain system in the world. Here is one of the largest volcanoes - Orizaba. Its right cone rises to 3000 meters from the base, and the height is 5700 m above sea level, which is slightly higher than the Elbrus volcano.

Further, when moving to the south, the Transverse Volcanic Sierra terminates in a deep basin of tectonic origin. Beyond the River Walsas stretches the Southern Sierra Madre. It stretches parallel to the Pacific Ocean. Unlike other mountain systems, there are no active volcanoes, it is composed mainly of sedimentary rocks.

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is relatively low, its altitude is only 650 m in some places. The Chiapas mountain system extends beyond it. This complex mountain range occupies the entire southeast of Mexico. Chiapas is conditionally divided into two parts: the same highlands and the Sierra Madre range.

The largest in the area is the lowland of Mexico - Tabasco, it is located near the Gulf of Mexico and is covered with marine sediments.

Having examined in detail all the structures and relief, one can answer the question about why Mexico is rich in minerals. This mainly depends on the processes that took place on the territory of the modern state thousands of years ago: plate movements, volcanic eruptions, glacier movements, etc.

What is rich in Mekika. Minerals

We can say that in the country there are almost all minerals. Why is Mexico rich in minerals? This is due to the diversity of the terrain. There are significant reserves of such minerals as iron, mercury, gold, silver, antimony, copper, zinc, graphite, bismuth, etc. In addition, the country is producing oil and gas. Further, economically important minerals of Mexico will be briefly described.

Oil and gas

About 350 oil fields and about 200 gas were explored on the territory of the state. Most of the reserves are concentrated within the Gulf - the Mexican oil and gas basin.

There are a lot of deposits on the territory, but all of them are relatively small, only a few have an oil reserve of more than 100 million tons, gas - more than 100 billion cubic meters. According to the reserves of this valuable raw material, Mexico is second only to Venezuela in Latin America.

There are five areas in the Mexican oil and gas basin:

  • North-Eastern region. Located in the deflection of the Rio Bravo del Norte.
  • Tampico Tuspan. Previously, this area was the richest in reserves. Particularly distinguished area of Poza-Rica with Upper Cretaceous reef limestones.
  • Veracus.
  • South. It is located near the coast of Tabasco-Campeche. Now it occupies the first place in oil reserves.
  • Yucatan.

Coking coals

The main place of production is the Sabina basin. Almost all large deposits are confined to Cretaceous sediments.


The deposits are confined to the sulfur-bearing province of the Gulf of Mexico. Native sulfur was formed due to gas emissions of volcanoes located near the Teutanepek isthmus. According to the reserves of this fossil, Mexico occupies one of the first places in the world.

Gold, silver, polymetallic ores

Such minerals of Mexico as gold, silver and polymetallic ores are always together. The belt of skarn metals stretches from the north-west to the southeast. It begins with large deposits of copper, silver (the Cananea region). Next come the "knots" of deposits of gold, silver and polymetallic ores. These are such deposits as El Potosi, Zacatecas.


Metal deposits are found in areas of modern volcanism. Deposits: El Oro, Taxco, Mineral del Monto, Wincuko.

Iron ore

This type of mineral is usually found together with antimony and titanium ores. Territories rich in intrusive minerals are not so many, but they play an important role in the country's economy. Deposits: Manzanillo, Durango.


Obtain it mainly in the state of Sonora. It was formed because of the impact of granitoid intrusions on coal beds.


In Mexico, 11% of all reserves of this mineral are concentrated. Deposits: Sacualpán, La Barra, Guadalajara, Paila, Aguacile, San Marcos and others.

The main minerals of Mexico are not only the above species, but also such as gypsum, rock salt, opal, strontium.

Why is Mexico rich in minerals? The short answer is: due to the presence of a variety of geological structures on the territory of the country, manifestations of intense volcanism. Therefore, here you can find in almost all quantities of almost all minerals. Some of these minerals and rocks play an important role in the country's economy. For example, silver, sulfur, fluorite and oil.

The huge area of such a state as Mexico, features of relief, minerals, rich history - all this makes the country unique and unique.

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