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Sea Botton Vulcanism
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Chicxulub Crater

A volcano is a geological structure where it leaves from the interior of the Earth towards the surface the magma that can arise in the form of lava, ashes and / or gases. In the tectonic plate of the Caribbean there are two volcanic arches that have numerous volcanoes and some of them with recent activity. The Volcanic Arc of the Lesser Antilles and the Volcanic Arc of Central America both generated by a process of subduction with the surrounding tectonic plates.

Continental volcanic arch
Island volcanic arch


Volcanic arches generated by plate subduction in Central America and the Lesser Antilles. In general there are three types of volcanoes: 1) stratovolcanoes, which are the most common in subduction zones, 2) lava domes and 3) slag cones.

Cross section of a stratovolcano (the vertical scale has been exaggerated): 1. Magma chamber 2. Bedrock 3. Chimney 4. Base 5. Plate 6. Fissure 7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano 8. Flank 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano 10. Gorge 11. Secondary cone 12. Lava flow (lava) 13. Ventilator 14. Crater 15. Eruption column


Volcanism occurs on the eastern and western margins of the Caribbean plate. Those on the west margin are on the continental land of Central America while those on the east are on the islands that have formed in the Lesser Antilles.

Volcanic Arch of the Lesser Antilles

Volcanes Antillas


All the islands of the Lesser Antilles have one or more volcanoes with different levels of activity as it is in Monserrate or underwater in Grenada . Among the five most active are:

Kick-´Em-Jenny (submarino, cerca de Granada)
Montagne Pelée (Martinica)
La Soufrière (Guadalupe).
Soufrière Hills (Montserrat).
Vínculo a texto Vínculo a texto Soufrière St. Vincent (San Vicente).


Volcanic Arch of Central AmericaThis continental volcanic arc exists as a consequence of the process of subduction between the plates of Cocos and the Caribbean. In a wider context it is part of the Pacific Fire Belt and in Central America it extends from Guatemala to Panama along the Pacific coast. The highest volcanoes in Central America are in Guatemala, both above 4000 metersThere are many volcanoes in their different manifestations such as stratovolcanoes, lava domes and ash cones. The volcanoes with the most activity by country are:

Costa Rica:

Rincón de la Vieja, Arenal, Turrialba, Irazú, Poás.


Cerro Negro, San Cristóbal, Telica, Masaya, Momotombo, Concepción.

 El Salvador: San Salvador, San Miguel, Santa Ana, Izalco.
Guatemala:Tajumulco, Tacaná, Santa María/Santiaguito, Pacaya, Fuego.
Vínculo a texto Vínculo a texto  


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