Tectonic Shoving Match Formed Caribbean Arc
by Our Amazing Planet staff
The movement of Earth’s viscous mantle against South America has pushed the Caribbean islands east over the last 50 million years, according to a study published Monday (Aug. 20) in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The University of Southern California, in announcing the study, said the findings upend previous hypotheses of the seismic activity beneath the Caribbean Sea and provide an important new look at the unique tectonic interactions that are causing the Caribbean plate to tear away from South America.
The Caribbean plate is being pushed eastward due to a thick section of the South American plate called a “cratonic keel.” This section of crust is three times thicker than its surroundings…
(read more: OurAmazingPlanet)
(image: Courtesy of Meghan Miller and Thorsten Becker)