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Encyclopedia > Caribbean Plate
Detail of tectonic plates from: Tectonic plates of the world.
Detail of tectonic plates from: Tectonic plates of the world.

The Caribbean Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate underlying Central America and the Caribbean Sea off the north coast of South America. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (3000x2250, 1130 KB) I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (3000x2250, 1130 KB) I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (4150x2832, 3128 KB) The Earths tectonic plates. ... The tectonic plates of the world were mapped in the second half of the 20th century. ... Map of Central America Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. ... Map of Central America and the Caribbean A Caribbean beach in Isla Margarita, Venezuela. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ...


Roughly 3.2 million square kilometers (1.2 million square miles) in area, the Caribbean Plate borders the North American Plate, the South American Plate, and the Cocos Plate. These borders are hotspots for seismic activity, including frequent earthquakes and tremors, occasional tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.  The North American plate, shown in brown The North American Plate is a tectonic plate covering most of North America, extending eastward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and westward to the Cherskiy Range in East Siberia. ... The South American Plate is a continental tectonic plate covering the continent of South America and extending eastward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. ...  The Cocos plate, shown in gray-blue, off the Pacific coast of Central America The Cocos Plate (Chocos Plate) is an oceanic tectonic plate beneath the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Central America, named for Cocos Island, which rides upon it. ... Seismology (from the Greek seismos = earthquake and logos = word) is the scientific study of earthquakes and the movement of waves through the Earth. ... An earthquake is a phenomenon that results from and is powered by the sudden release of stored energy in the crust that propagates seismic waves. ... The tsunami that struck Malé in the Maldives on December 26, 2004. ... Volcano 1. ...

Contents

Boundary types

The northern boundary with the North American plate is a transform or strike-slip boundary which runs from the border area of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras in Central America, eastward through the Cayman trough on south of the southeast coast of Cuba, and just north of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Part of the Puerto Rico Trench, the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean (roughly 8,400 meters), lies along this border. The Puerto Rico trench is at a complex transition from the subduction boundary to the south and the transform boundary to the west. In plate tectonics, a transform boundary (also known as transform fault boundary, transform plate boundary, transform plate margin, slip boundary or conservative plate boundary) is said to occur when tectonic plates slide and grind against each other along a transform fault. ... Cayman Trench, also called Bartlett Deep, or Bartlett Trough, is a submarine trench on the floor of the western Caribbean Sea between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. ... Early map of Hispaniola The island of Hispaniola (from Spanish, La Española) is the second-largest island of the Antilles, lying between the islands of Cuba to the west, and Puerto Rico to the east. ... Location map Puerto Rico trench - USGS The Puerto Rico Trench is an oceanic trench located on the boundary between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. ...


The eastern boundary is a subduction zone, but since the boundary between the North and South American Plates in the Atlantic is as yet undefined, it is unclear which one, or possibly both, is descending under the Caribbean Plate. Subduction forms the volcanic islands of the Lesser Antilles island arc from the Virgin Islands in the north to the islands off the coast of Venezuela in the south. This boundary contains seventeen active volcanoes, most notably Soufriere Hills on Montserrat, Mount Pelée on Martinique, La Grande Soufrière on Guadeloupe, Soufrière Saint Vincent on Saint Vincent, and the submarine volcano Kick-'em-Jenny which lies about 10 km north of Grenada. Categories: Geology stubs | Plate tectonics ... Location of the Lesser Antilles (green) in relation to the rest of the Caribbean Islands of the Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles, also known as the Caribbees,[1] are part of the Antilles, which together with the Bahamas and Greater Antilles form the West Indies. ... An island arc is a type of archipelago formed by plate tectonics as one oceanic tectonic plate subducts under another and produces magma. ... The Soufriere Hills volcano is a complex stratovolcano with many lava domes forming its summit on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. ... Mount Pelée (French: Montagne Pelée, Bald Mountain) is an active volcano on the northern tip of the French overseas département of Martinique in the Caribbean. ... La Grande Soufrière, or simply La Soufrière (French: sulphur outlet), is an active stratovolcano located on the French island of Basse-Terre, in Guadeloupe. ... La Soufrière is a volcano and the highest peak on the island of Saint Vincent in the West Indies. ... Location map of submarine volcano Kick-em-Jenny Kick-em-Jenny is an active submarine volcano on the Caribbean sea floor 8 km north of the island of Grenada and about 8 km west of Ronde Island in the Grenadines at Latitude: 12. ...

Volcanoes of the Caribbean.
Volcanoes of the Caribbean.

Along the geologically complex southern boundary the Caribbean Plate interacts with the South American Plate forming Trinidad (on the South American Plate) and Tobago (on the Caribbean Plate), and islands off the coast of Venezuela (including the Leeward Antilles) and Colombia. This boundary is in part the result of transform faulting along with thrust faulting and some subduction. The rich Venezuelan petroleum fields possibly result from this complex plate interaction. Image File history File links CaribbeanVolcanoMap. ... Image File history File links CaribbeanVolcanoMap. ... Look up Trinidad in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Castara village beach looking south, Tobago Tobago is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. ... The Leeward Antilles are a chain of islands in the Caribbean – specifically, the southerly islands of the Lesser Antilles (and, in turn, the West Indies) along the southeastern fringe of the Caribbean Sea, just north of the Venezuelan coast of the South American mainland. ... A thrust fault is a particular type of fault, or break in the fabric of the Earths crust with resulting movement of each side against the other, in which a lower stratigraphic position is pushed up and over another. ... Pumpjack pumping an oil well near Sarnia, Ontario Ignacy Łukasiewicz - inventor of the refining of kerosene from crude oil. ...


The western portion of the plate is occupied by Central America. The Cocos Plate in the Pacific Ocean is subducted beneath the Caribbean Plate, just off the western coast of Central America. This subduction forms the volcanoes of Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

Detail of the Cocos and Caribbean plates from: Plate tectonics map.
Enlarge
Detail of the Cocos and Caribbean plates from: Plate tectonics map.

Image File history File links Cocos-Caribbean. ... Image File history File links Cocos-Caribbean. ... Download high resolution version (1280x838, 359 KB) --216. ...

Origin

The Caribbean Plate is thought to be a large igneous province that formed in the Pacific Ocean tens of millions of years ago. As the Atlantic ocean widened, North America and South America were pushed westward, and the Pacific Ocean floor began to subduct under the western edges of the American continents. The Caribbean Plate is thicker and lay higher than the rest of the Pacific Ocean floor, and instead overrode the Atlantic Ocean floor, moving eastward relative to North America and South America, and, with the formation of the Isthmus of Panama 2–3 million years ago, ultimately losing its connection to the Pacific. A large igneous province (LIP) is an extensive region of basalts resulting from flood basalt volcanism. ... The Isthmus of Panama. ...


There is some speculation that the westward motion of the South American Plate may have forced the Caribbean and Scotia Plates at its northern and southern ends respectively to squeeze around it. Both share a similar shape and are being subducted along their eastern boundary.[1] The Scotia plate is shown in blue-green towards the bottom of this map The Scotia Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate bordering the South American Plate on the north, the South Sandwich microplate to the east, and the Antarctic Plate on the south and west. ...


See also

Global earthquake epicenters, 1963-1998. ...

References


  Results from FactBites:
 
VOLCANIC TSUNAMI GENERATING SOURCE MECHANISMS IN THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN REGION - Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis (10937 words)
Convergent, compressional and collisional tectonic activity caused primarily from the eastward movement of the Caribbean Plate in relation to the North American and South American Plates, is responsible for zones of subduction in the region, the formation of island arcs and the evolution of particular volcanic centers on the overlying plate.
Currently, the Caribbean plate is moving eastward in relation to the North and South American Plates at a rate of approximately 20 millimeters per year.
The plate movement is responsible for the zones of subduction along the active boundaries and the formation of the West Indies Volcanic Island Arc on the overlying plate in the eastern region.
Problems with plate tectonics (6123 words)
Plate rigidity is a central tenet of plate tectonics.
Plate velocities are shown by arrows; their length indicates the displacement expected in a period of 25 million years.
Plate tectonicists who recognize the existence of ridge-parallel flow generally argue that a mantle diapir wells up beneath each ocean ridge segment, and that at the crest of each diapir, radial horizontal flow takes place, with a significant component parallel to the strike of the ridge and in opposite directions.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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