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In the Greater Antilles islands relief is high and abrupt with the highest elevations on the Island of Hispaniola with Pico Duarte (10416.7 famsl), Pico la Selle (8773.0 famsl) and Alto de la Bandera (9324.1 famsl). On the island of Jamaica they are Blue Mountain Peak (7401.6 famsl) and some others above 3937.0 feets. The relief of the island of Cuba is up 90% plaine and the unique relief of importance are at the southern end with Sierra Maestra. The relief of Puerto Rico is abrupt and of low altitude.

The islands of the Lesser Antilles have a low overall topography like in the smaller islands of Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda and Barbados. The islands that have a more rugged topography, the mountains are in many cases active volcanoes. Among the most important are Montagne Pelee on the Island of Martinique , La Soufrière in Guadeloupe , Soufriere Hills in Montserrat and San Vicente Soufriére. It has to be mention the underwater volcano off the Island of Granada Kick-'em-Jenny and the other smaller five on the island itself .

Lesser Antilles, most important volcanoes

Volcan Soufriére Hills in the Monserrat Island, Lesser Antilles.

To the west of the Caribbean Sea, in Central America, the coastal relief is flat in general. The mountain formations of Honduras and Colombia are the oldest as well as the lowlands of Nicaragua that extend beneath the waters of the Caribbean Sea between the basins of Yucatan and Colombia. The mountains of Costa Rica and Panama and up to the north are of recent geological origin and is characterized by active volcanoes.

Until a recent geological past, Costa Rica and Panama did not existed, so the American continent was divided by a stretch of water through which the Atlantic and Pacific communicated. With the emergence of land about 2 to 3 million years, apeared the isthmus that joined, with a piece of land, South and North America. The entire chain of volcanoes in Central America along with the movements of the Tectonic plates surrounding the Caribbean Plate are also the responsible for the emergence of this strip of land .  

The Caribbean Sea bounded on the south by northern South America where two branches of the Andes ends. Although seismic activity that presents this area has a certain intensity shows no volcanic activity.

Topographical relief of the Carribbean section of South America with the ends of the Andes Mountains of Colombia and Venezuela and the separated seccion of Santa Marta with heights of 18946.8 feets.

 

OCEAN CURRENTS

The north-equatorial ocean current of the Atlantic Ocean flow near the coast of Brazil and the Guianas and enters the Caribbean Sea in two places, the most souther is through the West Indies between the islands of Trinidad and Granada. The other important entrance to the Caribbean Sea of the Atlantic equatorial current is through the Straits of Anegada Vínculo a Mapa and Los Vientos Vínculo a Mapa.The southernmost entrance penetrates in Trinidad and flows along the coast of South America to Costa Rica and Panama (Central America ) where the Panamanian whirlwind has formed a pattern of movement in the opposite direction clockwise, in theare are generated special in seawater conditions of salinity, temperature and nutrients. At the level of Nicaragua the current it`s directed to the Gulf of Mexico pushed by westerly winds where it joins the Gulf Stream providing a third of the total flow. The Caribbean sea currents are mostly directed to the Strait of Yucatan, where they exit into the Gulf of Mexico and then with the Gulf Stream go through the Straits of Florida to the north. The rest of the equatorial Atlantic current called the Antilles Current flows through the Bahamas and joins the Gulf Stream in his way to the north by the coast of North America.

The average salinity of the Caribbean Sea is 35 to 36 parts per million; however, the current entering Trinidad is characterized by shallow water with salinity of 35.5 parts per million and 68°F temperature, the more supeficial layers are less salty and with temperatures ranging between 75.2°F and 86°F, condition mainly caused by the incorporation to the ocean of large amounts of freshwater and sediments from the Orinoco and Amazon River. This condition reduces in part the general salinity of the surface water development and induces large concentrations of chlorophyll in the eastern sea.

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