The Caribbean Plate lies in a complex area with two major plates and two minor plates bordering it. The plate includes oceanic and continental crust. The Caribbean Sea covers most of the plate with Central America and volcanic islands covering the rest. The edges of the plate have intense seismic activity, frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Crustal plates around Central America, NOAA
Puerto Rico Trench
Between the North American Plate and this plate is a transform boundary and a subduction zone. The Puerto Rico trench runs between the plates and is the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean. The trench is 8,400 meters deep. Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are on the Caribbean side of the trench.
The area also contains seventeen active and dangerous volcanoes. Two notorious volcanoes in the area are Soufriere Hills on Montserrat and Mount Pelee on Martinique.
The southern border of the plate interacts with the South American Plate. The petroleum fields of Venezuela are thought to be a result of the interaction between the two plates.
Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago islands all formed on the Caribbean side of the plates. Between these two plates there is a transform fault, thrust faults, and a subduction zone.
The western section of the plate includes Central America. The Cocos Plate in the Pacific Ocean is subducting beneath the Caribbean Plate forming the Central America Volcanic Arc with volcanoes in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
What is an Earthquake Find out what causes the Earth to shake, rattle and roll during an earthquake.
Convergent Boundary There are two types of boundaries where plates converge. They produce great mountain ranges and large earthquakes.
Transform Boundary These boundaries are found all around our ocean floors where oceanic plates are separating.
Pacific Plate The Pacific Plate is the largest plate on Earth. Great earthquakes and towering volcanoes surround the plate along the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Ocean Trenches Find out how plates diving beneath other crustal plates create trenches on the ocean floor that are deepest points on Earth.
Caribbean Plate This plate is small but very complex. It has a subduction zone, transform fault, and triple junction.
Plate Tectonics Find out lots of fascinating facts and interesting trivia on plate tectonics.
Kids Fun Science The links on our home page include information about volcanoes, science activities, plate tectonics, the rock cycle and much more.