Central America Volcanic Arc

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Map of the Central American volcanic arc, with captions showing the location of several volcanoes - in the Mexico/Guatemala border: Tacana; in Guatemala: Tajumulco, Santa Maria, Chicabal, Toliman, Atitlan, Volcan de Fuego, Volcan de Agua, Pacaya, Chingo; in El Salvador: Apaneca Range, Chinchontepec or San Vicente, Chaparrastique or San Miguel, Chinameca and Conchagua; in Nicaragua: Cosiguina, Telica, Cerro Negro, Momotombo, Chiltepe, Mombacho and Concepcion; in Costa Rica: Orosi, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, Arenal, Barva, Turrialba and Irazu; in Panama: Baru and La Yeguada. Central America volcanic belt.jpg
Map of the Central American volcanic arc, with captions showing the location of several volcanoes – in the Mexico/Guatemala border: Tacaná; in Guatemala: Tajumulco, Santa Maria, Chicabal, Tolimán, Atitlán, Volcán de Fuego, Volcán de Agua, Pacaya, Chingo; in El Salvador: Apaneca Range, Chinchontepec or San Vicente, Chaparrastique or San Miguel, Chinameca and Conchagua; in Nicaragua: Cosiguina, Telica, Cerro Negro, Momotombo, Chiltepe, Mombacho and Concepción; in Costa Rica: Orosí, Rincón de la Vieja, Miravalles, Arenal, Barva, Turrialba and Irazú; in Panama: Barú and La Yeguada.

The Central American Volcanic Arc (often abbreviated to CAVA) is a chain of volcanoes which extends parallel to the Pacific coast line of the Central American Isthmus, from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and down to northern Panama. This volcanic arc, which has a length of 1,500 kilometres (930 mi), [1] [2] is formed by an active subduction zone along the western boundary of the Caribbean Plate.

Guatemala Republic in Central America

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.

El Salvador country in Central America

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.

Honduras republic in Central America

Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. In the past, it was sometimes referred to as "Spanish Honduras" to differentiate it from British Honduras, which later became modern-day Belize. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.

The Central American Volcanic Arc includes hundreds of volcanic formations, ranging from major stratovolcanoes, to lava domes and cinder cones. Some of these have produced large explosive eruptions, like the colossal VEI 6 eruption of the Santa Maria volcano in 1902. Central America's highest volcanoes are found in Guatemala and include the Tajumulco and Volcán Tacaná, both above 4,000 meters. Several volcanoes in Central America are currently active, including Arenal, Turrialba, Irazú, Poás, and Rincon de la Vieja in Costa Rica; Cerro Negro, San Cristóbal, Concepción in Nicaragua; Chaparrastique or San Miguel, Ilamatepec or Santa Ana, Izalco in El Salvador; Santa Maria/Santiaguito, Pacaya, Fuego in Guatemala.

Lava dome Roughly circular protrusion from slowly extruded viscous volcanic lava

In volcanology, a lava dome or volcanic dome is a roughly circular mound-shaped protrusion resulting from the slow extrusion of viscous lava from a volcano. Dome-building eruptions are common, particularly in convergent plate boundary settings. Around 6% of eruptions on earth are lava dome forming. The geochemistry of lava domes can vary from basalt to rhyolite although the majority are of intermediate composition The characteristic dome shape is attributed to high viscosity that prevents the lava from flowing very far. This high viscosity can be obtained in two ways: by high levels of silica in the magma, or by degassing of fluid magma. Since viscous basaltic and andesitic domes weather fast and easily break apart by further input of fluid lava, most of the preserved domes have high silica content and consist of rhyolite or dacite.

Cinder cone A steep conical hill of loose pyroclastic fragments around a volcanic vent

A cinder cone is a steep conical hill of loose pyroclastic fragments, such as either volcanic clinkers, volcanic ash, or cinder that has been built around a volcanic vent. The pyroclastic fragments are formed by explosive eruptions or lava fountains from a single, typically cylindrical, vent. As the gas-charged lava is blown violently into the air, it breaks into small fragments that solidify and fall as either cinders, clinkers, or scoria around the vent to form a cone that often is symmetrical; with slopes between 30–40°; and a nearly circular ground plan. Most cinder cones have a bowl-shaped crater at the summit.

Volcán Tajumulco stratovolcano in Guatemala

Volcán Tajumulco is a large stratovolcano in the department of San Marcos in western Guatemala. It is the highest mountain in Central America at 4,202 metres (13,786 ft). It is part of the mountain range of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, which begins in Mexico's southernmost state of Chiapas.

Sierra Madre de Chiapas mountain in Central America

The Sierra Madre de Chiapas is a major mountain range in Central America. The Sierra Madre de Chiapas is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, and South America.

Notes

  1. García, 2007: 13
  2. Rose et al. (1999:2) mention an arc length of 1,100 km.

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Central America central geographic region of the Americas

Central America is located on the southern tip of North America, or is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas, bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The combined population of Central America has been estimated to be 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.

Subduction A geological process at convergent tectonic plate boundaries where one plate moves under the other

Subduction is a geological process that takes place at convergent boundaries of tectonic plates where one plate moves under another and is forced to sink due to gravity into the mantle. Regions where this process occurs are known as subduction zones. Rates of subduction are typically in centimeters per year, with the average rate of convergence being approximately two to eight centimeters per year along most plate boundaries.

Ring of Fire the area around the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur

The Ring of Fire is a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. In a large 40,000 km (25,000 mi) horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and plate movements. It has 452 volcanoes. The Ring of Fire is sometimes called the circum-Pacific belt.

Cocos Plate A young oceanic tectonic plate beneath the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Central America

The Cocos Plate is a young oceanic tectonic plate beneath the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Central America, named for Cocos Island, which rides upon it. The Cocos Plate was created approximately 23 million years ago when the Farallon Plate broke into two pieces, which also created the Nazca Plate. The Cocos Plate also broke into two pieces, creating the small Rivera Plate. The Cocos Plate is bounded by several different plates. To the northeast it is bounded by the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate. To the west it is bounded by the Pacific Plate and to the south by the Nazca Plate.

Santa María (volcano) mountain

Santa María Volcano is a large active volcano in the western highlands of Guatemala, in the Quetzaltenango Department near the city of Quetzaltenango.

Pacaya mountain and national park in Guatemala

Pacaya is an active complex volcano in Guatemala, which first erupted approximately 23,000 years ago and has erupted at least 23 times since the Spanish invasion of Guatemala. Pacaya rises to an elevation of 2,552 metres (8,373 ft). After being dormant for over 70 years, it began erupting vigorously in 1961 and has been erupting frequently since then. Much of its activity is Strombolian, but occasional Plinian eruptions also occur, sometimes showering the area of the nearby Departments with ash.

Masaya Volcano Volcán Masaya

Masaya is a caldera located in Masaya, Nicaragua, 20 km south of the capital Managua. It is Nicaragua's first and largest national park, and one of 78 protected areas of Nicaragua. The complex volcano is composed of a nested set of calderas and craters, the largest of which is Las Sierras shield volcano and caldera. Within this caldera lies a sub-vent, which is Masaya Volcano sensu stricto. The vent is a shield type composing of basaltic lavas and tephras and includes a summit crater. This hosts Masaya caldera, formed 2,500 years ago by an 8-km³ basaltic ignimbrite eruption. Inside this caldera a new basaltic complex has grown from eruptions mainly on a semi-circular set of vents that include the Masaya and Nindiri cones. The latter host the pit craters of Masaya, Santiago, Nindiri and San Pedro. Observations in the walls of the pit craters indicate that there have been several episodes of cone and pit crater formation.

Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt arc of volcanic mountains across central-southern Mexico

The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, also known as the Transvolcanic Belt and locally as the Sierra Nevada, is a volcanic belt that covers central-southern Mexico. Several of its highest peaks have snow all year long, and during clear weather, they are visible to a large percentage of those who live on the many high plateaus from which these volcanoes rise.

Caribbean Plate A mostly oceanic tectonic plate including part of Central America and the Caribbean Sea

The Caribbean Plate is a mostly oceanic tectonic plate underlying Central America and the Caribbean Sea off the north coast of South America.

Bazman mountain

Bazman is a stratovolcano in a remote desert region of Sistan and Baluchestan Province in south-eastern Iran. A 500-m-wide crater caps the summit of the dominantly andesitic-dacitic volcano, the flanks of which are covered by monogenetic centres especially to the northwest. Bazman is a geologically young volcano which was made in the Quaternary, with the oldest dated rocks being 11.7 million years old and the youngest 0.6 million years. Although no historic eruptions have been reported from Bazman, it does contain fumaroles. Thus Bazman may be regarded as dormant, rather than extinct. Its satellite cones have been the source of basaltic lava flows.

Cosigüina mountain

Cosigüina is a stratovolcano located in the western part of Nicaragua. It forms a large peninsula extending into the Gulf of Fonseca. The summit is truncated by a large caldera, 2 x 2.4 km in diameter and 500 m deep, holding a substantial crater lake. This cone has grown within an earlier caldera, forming a somma volcano. The earlier caldera rim is still exposed on the north side, but has been buried by the younger cone elsewhere.

Andean Volcanic Belt Volcanic belt in South America

The Andean Volcanic Belt is a major volcanic belt along the Andean cordillera in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. It is formed as a result of subduction of the Nazca Plate and Antarctic Plate underneath the South American Plate. The belt is subdivided into four main volcanic zones that are separated from each other by volcanic gaps. The volcanoes of the belt are diverse in terms of activity style, products and morphology. While some differences can be explained by which volcanic zone a volcano belongs to, there are significant differences within volcanic zones and even between neighboring volcanoes. Despite being a type location for calc-alkalic and subduction volcanism, the Andean Volcanic Belt has a large range of volcano-tectonic settings, as it is a rift systems and extensional zones, transpressional faults, subduction of mid-ocean ridges and seamount chains apart from a large range on crustal thicknesses and magma ascent paths, and different amount of crustal assimilations.

The Tehuantepec Ridge is a linear undersea ridge located off the west coast of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean. It is the remnant of an old fracture zone, and not a tectonic spreading center ridge. It extends from the eastern end of the Clipperton Fracture Zone northeastward toward Mexico into Chiapas and El Chichón until it is subducted into the Middle America Trench. It lies within the tectonic Cocos Plate, separating the lower and older seafloor of the Guatemala Basin which lies southeast of the ridge from higher and younger seafloor which lies to its northwest.

Index of Central America-related articles

This is an Index of Central America-related articles. This index defines Central America as the seven nations of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Incapillo

Incapillo is a Pleistocene caldera, a depression formed by the collapse of a volcano, in the La Rioja province of Argentina. Part of the Argentine Andes, it is considered the southernmost volcanic centre in the Central Volcanic Zone of the Andes with Pleistocene activity. Incapillo is one of several ignimbritic or calderic systems that, along with 44 active stratovolcanoes, are part of the Central Volcanic Zone.

The geology of Nicaragua includes Paleozoic crystalline basement rocks, Mesozoic intrusive igneous rocks and sedimentary rocks spanning the Cretaceous to the Pleistocene. Volcanoes erupted in the Paleogeneand within the last 2.5 million years of the Quaternary, due to the subduction of the Cocos Plate, which drives melting and magma creation. Many of these volcanoes are in the Nicaraguan Depression paralleled by the northwest-trending Middle America Trench which marks the Caribbean-Cocos plate boundary. Almost all the rocks in Nicaragua originated as dominantly felsic continental crust, unlike other areas in the region which include stranded sections of mafic oceanic crust. Structural geologists have grouped all the rock units as the Chortis Block.

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Coordinates: 10°26′31″N84°41′17″W / 10.44194°N 84.68806°W / 10.44194; -84.68806

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