Present-day strain field on the South American slab underneath the Sandwich Plate (Southern Atlantic Ocean): A kinematic model
J. L. Giner-Robles, R. Pérez-López, M. A. Rodríguez-Pascua, J. J. Martínez-Díaz, J. M. González-Casado, 2009. "Present-day strain field on the South American slab underneath the Sandwich Plate (Southern Atlantic Ocean): A kinematic model", The Origin and Evolution of the Caribbean Plate, K. H. James, M. A. Lorente, J. L. Pindell
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This work analyses the present-day principal strain orientation on the downgoing slab of the South America Plate (SAM) beneath the Sandwich Plate (SAND). The strain regime was deduced from the study of 331 earthquake focal mechanism solutions examined by fault population analysis methods. In the slab, the maximum horizontal shortening direction (ey) rotates in trend in a clockwise direction from NE in the north, to SE in the south. Based on this rotation, three different areas were defined according to the prevailing focal mechanism type: (1) the North Zone, with ey oriented N058°E and reverse and strike–slip focal mechanisms; (2) the Central Zone, with only reverse focal mechanisms and ey striking N080°E; and (3) the South Zone, with ey oriented N106°E and reverse and strike–slip focal mechanisms. The strain field in the North Zone of the SAND involves decoupling of the slab at approximately 70 km depth. In contrast, the South Zone edge slab exhibits no decoupling and it exhibits different geometry (hook-like shaped) from the North Zone. Finally, we define the dextral strike–slip component acting at the South Sandwich Fracture Zone (SSFZ), according to focal mechanism solutions and the regional tectonic configuration.
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The Origin and Evolution of the Caribbean Plate
This book considers the geology between North and South America. It contributes to debate about the area's evolution, particularly that of the Caribbean. Prevailing understanding is that the Caribbean formed in the Pacific and was engulfed between the Americas as the latter drifted west. Accordingly, the Caribbean Plate comprises internal, Jurassic–Cretaceous oceanic rocks, thickened into a Cretaceous hotspot/plume plateau, with obducted ophiolites and Cretaceous–Palaeogene, subduction-related, intra-oceanic volcanic arc and metamorphosed arc/continental rocks exposed on its margins. An alternative interpretation is that the Caribbean evolved in place. It consists largely of continental crust, extended in the Triassic–Jurassic, which subsided below thick Jurassic–Cretaceous carbonate rocks and flood basalts, and Cenozoic carbonate and clastic rocks. After uplift of ‘oceanic’ and volcanic arc rocks onto (continental) margins, the interior foundered in the Middle Eocene. Papers range from regional overviews and discussions of Caribbean origins to aspects of local geology arranged in a circum-Caribbean tour and ending in the interior. They address tectonics, structure, geochronology, seismicity, igneous and metamorphic petrology, metamorphism, geochemistry, stratigraphy and palaeontology.