Encyclopedia of the World's Coastal Landforms

2010 Edition
| Editors: Eric C. F. Bird

Lesser Antilles

  • Gillian Cambers
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8639-7_50


The Lesser Antilles represent an arc of island systems separating the Caribbean Sea from the North Atlantic Ocean. They extend from the Virgin Islands (latitude 18° 30' N) in the north to Trinidad (latitude 10°N) in the south (Deane 1985). The arc of islands lies along the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Tectonic Plate, which lies adjacent to the North American Plate, which in turn is moving westwards and subducting beneath the Caribbean Plate.

The Lesser Antilles consist of two main arcs: an inner active volcanic arc and an outer calcareous arc. The inner volcanic arc is of Eocene origin and extends from Saba in the north to Grenada in the south. Many of these islands have experienced recent volcanic eruptions, as at Mount Pelée in Martinique in 1902, Soufrière in St. Vincent in 1979, and Soufrière Hills in Montserrat in 1995 where the volcanic activity is continuing into the 21st century ( Fig. 5.5.1). The submarine volcano, Kick ‘em Jenny, 8 km north of Grenada, rose...


Coral Reef Sandy Beach South Coast Sand Beach North American Plate 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gillian Cambers
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico