Encyclopedia of the World's Coastal Landforms

2010 Edition
| Editors: Eric C. F. Bird

Pacific Central America – Editorial Introduction

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8639-7_26

Central America is here taken to extend from Mexico south to Colombia. It is dominated by mountain ranges that continue the trend of the Rocky Mountains of North America southward through an isthmus to the Andes Mountains of South America, but there are intricate structures resulting from a complex tectonic history, and some associated vulcanicity. Rock formations range from Palae­ozoic to Holocene (Weyl 1980; Yanez-Arancibia 2005).

Pacific Coast

On the Pacific coast narrow coastal plains alternate with steep sectors. Earthquakes occur, and there are many uplifted beaches and terraces on the coastal slopes. Ocean swell from the SW breaks on beaches supplied with sand mainly from rivers draining the steep slopes of coastal ranges. Beaches pass laterally into barriers in front of coastal lagoons and swamps. In Costa Rica and Panama the coastline becomes irregular in response to geological structures, with long sectors of steep and rocky coast, and shallow embayments, notably the Gulf of...


Coral Reef Continental Shelf Pacific Coast Pacific Central Yucatan Peninsula 
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  1. Weyl R (1980) Geology of Central America. Gebruder Borntraeger, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  2. Yanez-Arancibia A (2005) Middle America, coastal ecology and geomorphology. In: Schwartz ML (ed) Encyclopedia of Coastal Science. Springer, Dordrecht, the Netherlands, pp 639–645CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010