Caribbean marine geology; Active margins of the plate boundary
The margins of the Caribbean plate are characterized by varying amounts of strike-slip faulting and compressional folding, thrusting, warping, and extensional faulting. The Cayman Trough is a predominantly strike-slip transform boundary except for a short segment of a spreading ridge (Macdonald and Holcombe, 1978; Holcombe and Sharman, 1983). The Barbados Ridge- Lesser Antilles Arc system and the Middle America Trench-Central America Arc system are predominantly compressional, convergent boundaries. The other boundaries have experienced Neogene strike-slip faulting, compression, and extension across a broad plate boundary zone. Because we are dealing with several rigid plates in relative motion with respect to each other, we believe that the Neogene pattern has undergone slow secondorder changes with time (Dewey, 1975). The Neogene and Quaternary pattern has been quite different from Paleogene and Cretaceous patterns of plate boundary organization and deformation (Ladd, 1976; Pindell and Dewey, 1982; Pindell and Barrett, this volume). In this chapter we will review the northern, southern, and eastern boundaries of the Caribbean; the western boundary with the Cocos plate is reviewed only briefly here and more fully in the eastern Pacific volume (von Huene, 1989). Place names referred to in this chapter can be found in Plate 1.