National Geographic : 1898 May
CUBA senting successive elevations of the island in Pliocene, Pleistocene, and recent time. This topography is surmounted by extensive flat- HAVAA topped summits like the Mesa Toar and the Junki (anvil) of Baracoa (alt. 1,827 feet), bor dered by numerous sharp, knife-edged salients, | known as cuchillas. Similar remnantal flat tops occur at rare intervals as far west as Ma tanzas, the most conspicuous of which are the Sierra Matahambre and the Pan de Matanzas (alt. 1,200 feet). To the westward, in the prov- g inces of Matanzas and Habana, the arch of the , plateau, which follows the northern side, de- .m scends nearer and nearer sea-level, and develops a longer but gentle slope toward the south coast, . hence presenting a cliff topography to the north ' sea and gradually merging, as the great central plain of Cuba, into the Caribbean, producing . r the extensive cienega or swamp known as the ~ Zapata on the coast opposite Matanzas. Through Puerto Principe and Santa Clara, ; o except where broken by the central mountains ° of e of Trinidad, this limestone stretch forms two 3 wide coastal belts, each about a third the width of the island, separated by a central axial strip. West of Santa Clara these two belts unite into g the broad plains of Matanzas and Habana, where they constitute the central sugar region of ; Cuba-the Vuelta Arriba-and again diverge § west of the latter city along either side of the central mountains of Pinar del Rio, where it con stitutes the Vuelta Abajo. These limestone dis- | tricts weather into fertile calcareous soils, red o and black in color, and of a quality and depth unequaled in the world, and their extent in the level region is an almost continuous field of " sugar-cane. At two places throughout the length of the island there are depressions cross ing it where the divide is reduced to less than 500 feet. The first of these is between Moron B^^"sos and the south coast, in Puerto Principe, and the second between Habana and Batabano.