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ZetaTalk: Volcanoes

Written January 15, 2011

When South America rolls and Central America is pushed over the Cocos Plate, will this activate volcanoes in Central America or does being pushed over the plate block the flow of magma to the surface? Will new volcanoes suddenly appear where the edge of the Cocos plate is under new locations in Central America?

Volcanoes erupt when the magma pockets beneath the surface, the source of the spewing lava, are under pressure. This will surely not change during the S American roll, as most of Central America rides on the Caribbean Plate, which will be pushed down, compressed against the Cocos and Nazca Plates, and in some cases crumbled by the sideways pressure. This will also be true of the volcanoes in the Caribbean. Relief will not occur until some days have passed, when the roiling magma has found new pathways for its flow.

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