How were the Caribbean islands formed?
Credit:Breezy BaldwinCC-BY 2.0
Q:

How were the Caribbean islands formed?

A:

Quick Answer

The Caribbean islands were formed by the collision of two tectonic plates. One plate is slipping beneath the other, which results in land being pushed up through the water. There was also volcanic activity from the collision that helped form the islands.

 Know More

Full Answer

Material pushed up through the ocean by volcanic, seismic and tectonic activity created the basic Caribbean islands. Over time, material built up so that it broke through the surface of the ocean to make the current physical islands. Since then, the two tectonic plates have continued to move, which created more islands within the group to form the modern Caribbean.

The shape of the islands was created by more than simple volcanic and seismic activity. The constant movement of the plates dragged the roots of the islands, the magma flows that created volcanoes and other rising material, away from their original spot. This created the arc visible today in a range of the Caribbean islands. This movement created more islands, much like the Hawaiian islands were created by moving over a lava flow, but in a unique arc shape. The details of how the Caribbean islands were created and how the arc was formed are constantly being researched, so new information regularly comes to light.

Learn more about Caribbean

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are all of the islands in the Caribbean?

    A:

    There are over 7,000 islands in the Caribbean, also known as the West Indies. There are 13 independent island countries: Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the three largest islands in the Caribbean?

    A:

    The three largest Caribbean islands by land area are Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica. The three most populous Caribbean nation-states as of 2011 are Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where is the Caribbean?

    A:

    The Caribbean, also commonly called the West Indies, is a region located between North and South America, as well as east of Central America in the Caribbean Sea. The name "Caribbean" refers to all land and water in the region.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the largest Caribbean island?

    A:

    Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean Sea (110,860 square kilometers or 42,803 square miles). It covers an area slightly smaller than Pennsylvania and is also the island with the largest single-nation population: estimated to be 11,047,251 in July 2014 by World Factbook.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore