The Scientific Case for EXPANSION TECTONICS

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The Caribbean Sea is made up of the Mexico, Colombian, and Venezuelan Basins, separated by what is referred to as the Antilles Arc. On an Expansion Tectonic Earth the development and subsequent opening of the Caribbean Sea is intimately related to the continental plate motion histories of both South America and Africa, relative to North America. Geological mapping of the seafloor shows that opening of each of the Caribbean basins was most active during the Jurassic Period. This was then later reactivated along the Antilles Arc during the Paleocene—around 66 million years ago—and has continued to open as a relatively restricted basin to the present-day.

Caribbean Sea Expansion Tectonic small Earth spreading history, extending from the present-day back to the early-Jurassic.

Plate tectonic reconstructions of the Atlantic Ocean traditionally fit the Brazil and Guinean coastlines of South America and Africa together. This fit helps to minimise any misfit in the Caribbean Sea region. The Caribbean region is then seen as a buffer zone between the North American plate, the South American plate, and subducting oceanic plates of the Pacific Ocean. On these reconstructions the Caribbean region is considered to be a preserved piece of the ancient Pacific Ocean, referred to as the Farallon plate, which is inferred to have originated from outside of the Caribbean region.

In contrast, on an Expansion Tectonic Earth early development of the Caribbean Sea is intimately associated with opening of the North Atlantic Ocean along with subsequent rifting of Africa away from the Americas. Opening of the Caribbean Sea commenced during the Triassic to early-Jurassic Periods as a result of north-south crustal stretching and extension between the North and South American continents. Subsequent development of the Caribbean Sea is then closely related to a northwest migration of North America, relative to the still joined South American and African supercontinent. The Colombian and Venezuelan basins opened during the Jurassic to Cretaceous Periods and were later separated by the Antilles island-arc.

This early opening phase lasted until the early-Cretaceous—around 130 million years ago—when rifting and eventual break-up between South America and Africa first began. During this phase, the Nicaraguan and Panama Peninsulas remained joined to South America. After separation of South America from Africa, South America then began to slowly rotate clockwise, relative to North America, in response to opening of the South Atlantic Ocean. This gave rise to further crustal extension and opening within the Caribbean basins, as well as isolation of the Antilles island-arc.

From the Paleocene Period–around 66 million years ago–to the present-day, South America has continued to slowly rotate clockwise, relative to North America, and was accompanied by fault movement along the length of the Antilles Arc. This fault movement extends along the western margin of Mexico and has since continued into the Gulf of California where it is known as the San Andreas Fault.

On an Expansion Tectonic Earth, an external origin for the Caribbean crustal region, as proposed in plate tectonic studies, is unnecessary. Small Earth model studies show that sourcing a fragment of crust from the Pacific region is untenable and is inconsistent with the established seafloor geological mapping. Instead, opening of the Caribbean Sea region is shown to be intimately associated with opening of the North Atlantic Ocean as well as on-going crustal plate motion between North and South America and Africa.