Cocos Plate

The Cocos is a lithospheric plate in the eastern Pacific. It is named after the Cocos Island.


The small plate is located west of Central America or the local states of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It is located east of the Pacific plate, south of the North American plate, west of the Caribbean plate and north of the Nazca plate.

Tectonics and history

On the western and southern boundary of the Cocos rising magma leads to seafloor spreading, while the plate slides on its eastern and northern borders under the lighter plates and generates the Middle America Trench. As a result, forms on the Central American mainland, a volcanic belt, with composite volcanoes such as the 2,381 -meter high Santa Ana in El Salvador arise.

The Cocos and the Nazca plate established only about 23 million years ago from the former Farallon plate. After the separation of the two plates formed at the eastern edge of the fracture zone, the subduction of both plates and a hot spot beneath the Galápagos Islands, a complex fracture pattern " Cocos - Nazca Spreading Center" ( CNS) is called. Thus there emerged several small rift zones and back - for example the Costa Rica Rift, Rift Ecuador and Galapagos Rift and the Cocos ridge, back Coiba, Malpelo back and Carnegie back.

In the north of the Cocos, the Orozco Fracture Zone and the Clipperton fracture zone are the Clipperton Island in the west, and the Tehuantepec Ridge in the east. The western boundary of the Cocos is part of the East Pacific Rise.