Abstract

The interpretation of 6,700 km of magnetic total intensity lines collected between the Cayman Trough and coastal Honduras indicates that two distinct systems of transcurrent faults control the configuration of the northwestern Caribbean plate boundary. A master fault set trends east-northeast-west-southwest parallel to the long axis of the Cayman Trough and is characterized by extensive sinistral displacements; a second-order fault system trends northwest-southeast and displays dextral offsets. Simple rotational shear deformation of rigid plates in a stress field generated by the eastward motion of the Caribbean plate relative to the North America plate can readily account for both fault sets.

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