The North American Plate is a tectonic plate that underlies much of North America and Central America as well as part of the Caribbean Sea. It shares a boundary with the Pacific and Cocos Plates in the west and the Caribbean Plate in the south.
North American Plate
The North American Plate is a tectonic plate that underlies much of North America and Central America as well as part of the Caribbean Sea. It shares a boundary with the Pacific Plate and Cocos Plate in the west and the Caribbean Plate in the south.
On the northern boundary is a continuation of the Mid-Atlantic ridge called the Gakkel Ridge. The rest of the boundary in the far northwestern part of the plate extends into Siberia.
The westerly boundary is the Queen Charlotte Fault running offshore along the coast of Alaska and the Cascadia subduction zone to the north, the San Andreas Fault through California, the East Pacific Rise in the Gulf of California and the Middle America Trench to the south.
The Caribbean-North American plate boundary is complex. The Cayman Trough marks the northwestern limit of the Caribbean Plate. To the east of the Cayman Trough, several major strike–slip faults traverse the region.
The southern boundary with the Cocos Plate to the west and the Caribbean Plate to the east is a transform fault (plates sliding past each other), represented by the Swan Islands Transform Fault under the Caribbean Sea and the Motagua Fault through Guatemala.
The parallel Septentrional and Enriquillo–Plantain Garden faults, which run through the island of Hispaniola and bound the Gonâve Microplate, are also a part of the boundary.
The rest of the southerly margin which extends east to the Mid Atlantic Ridge and marks the boundary between the North American Plate and the South American Plate is vague.
The Baja California Peninsula was once a part of the North American Plate, the tectonic plate of which mainland Mexico remains a part.
Spreading within the Gulf of California consists of short oblique rifts or ridge segments connected by long northwest trending transform faults, which together comprise the Gulf of California Rift Zone.
The Baja California Peninsula is now part of the Pacific Plate and is moving with it away from the East Pacific Rise in a north-northwest direction.