Caribbean collisions: exploring tectonically-active plate margins

November 14, 2007

Boulder, CO, USA - The geology of northern Central America reveals a complex record of tectonic and volcanic processes operating in tandem. A new volume published by the Geological Society of America sheds light on geologic processes that have dominated geologic evolution of the area since the rifting of North and South America to form the Caribbean realm in late Jurassic times.

Geologic and Tectonic Development of the Caribbean Plate Boundary in Northern Central America focuses on the Chortis block of northern Central America (consisting of present-day Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua) and southern Mexico.

"Subduction, collision, and strike-slip faulting are the main processes that have shaped this complex northwestern corner of the present-day Caribbean plate," said volume editor Paul Mann, Institute of Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin. "Fortunately, we have a rich Precambrian-to-recent rock record both on- and offshore that can be used to constrain the complex succession of tectonic events."

Mann assembled seven papers to provide an integrated view of geological, geophysical, and seismological evolution of the area's Caribbean and North American plate boundaries. Methods used in the research include:The book was published with support from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund.

This volume is the fifth GSA Special Paper edited or co-edited by Mann and colleagues on the tectonic evolution of the Caribbean plate and the geology of its plate margins. The series began with a 1991 volume on Hispaniola and continued with a 1995 volume on southern Central America, a 1999 volume on the active tectonics of Hispaniola, and a 2005 volume on the active tectonics of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. All these volumes, including this most recent addition, were conceived as "regional framework studies" that will assist in more targeted studies of the Caribbean region.
Individual copies may be purchased through the Geological Society of America online bookstore ( or by contacting GSA Sales and Service,

Book editors of earth science journals/publications may request a review copy by contacting Jeanette Hammann,

Geologic and Tectonic Development of the Caribbean Plate Boundary in Northern Central America
Paul Mann (editor)
Geological Society of America Special Paper 428
2007, 179 pages, US$60.00, GSA member price US$42.00
ISBN 978-0-8137-2428-8

Geological Society of America

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