Cayman Trench: Cayman Ridge (Caribbean)

Cayman Trench: Cayman Ridge (Caribbean)

Sun, 04/17/2022 - 23:45

The Cayman Trench is a submarine trench on the floor of the western Caribbean Sea between Jamaica and the southeastern tip of Cuba. The Cayman Ridge is an undersea mountain range on the northern margin of the Cayman Trough and includes the Cayman Islands.

Cayman Trench

The Cayman Trench is a submarine trench on the floor of the western Caribbean Sea between Jamaica and the southeastern tip of Cuba. It is also known variously as the Cayman Trough, Bartlett Deep and Bartlett Trough.

The Cayman Trench is the deepest point in the Caribbean Sea and has a maximum depth of 7,686 m (25,217 ft). It forms part of the tectonic boundary between the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate

The relatively narrow trough trends east-northeast to the west-southwest and extends from the Windward Passage, going south of the Sierra Maestra of Cuba toward Guatemala.

The eastern section of the trough has been named the Gonâve Microplate. The Gonâve Microplate extends from the spreading ridge east to the island of Hispaniola.

The Cayman Trench, at its deepest points, experiences near-freezing temperatures. Paradoxically, some of the world's hottest (up to 400 °C or 752 °F) and deepest deep-sea vents are also found in the Cayman Trench some 5 km (3.1 miles) below the surface.

Cayman Ridge

The Cayman Ridge (or Cayman Rise) is an undersea mountain range on the northern margin of the Cayman Trough in the Caribbean Sea. This oceanic ridge extends from the Sierra Maestra in southern Cuba in the east to the Misteriosa Bank in the west, a distance of about 1,500 km (930 mi). The Cayman Ridge also includes the Cayman Islands.

The Cayman Ridge was created by the interaction between the North American Plate and Caribbean Plate and forms the northern margin of the Cayman Trough. The islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are outcrops of the Cayman Ridge.

The ridge formed as an island arc when the Cayman Trough was the site of a subduction zone during the Paleocene and Eocene epochs. As the dynamics of the area changed, the subduction zone became a transform fault zone with a pull-apart basin during which time volcanism had dwindled along the entire length of the arc. The Cayman Ridge is now an inactive volcanic zone.

Map of the Mid-Cayman spreading center as part of the Cayman Trough, on the western edge of the Gonâve Microplate.

Map of the Mid-Cayman spreading center as part of the Cayman Trough, on the western edge of the Gonâve Microplate.