How Did Plate Tectonics Cause Climate Change In America

Satisfactory Essays
Plate tectonics move land masses around, and occasionally, interactions between different plates causes new land to form, and can even join two separate continents together, changing ocean currents and causing climate change. This is evident in the collision of the North and South American continents, which created the Isthmus of Panama, and separated the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. Approximately 15 million years ago, the North and South American continent was cut off from each other by a seaway about 200 km wide. Over time, the South American plate collided with the Caribbean and Cocos plate, and gradually closed the exchange of the Caribbean and Pacific waters 3-4 million years ago. This resulted in several consequences.
The strongest of which was that the transport of warm surface water could not enter the Pacific via the Atlantic ocean, and redirected it towards the Arctic Ocean, and effectively causing the current Thermohaline circulation to start. If the seaway were not closed, it would have been likely that cold water from the Arctic would have flowed towards the equator, where it would pass by the north-eastern part of North America, which could have caused the climate in the area to be much colder than it is today.
…show more content…
Another example is in volcanic activity caused by plate interactions. The three types of plate interactions, divergent, convergent, and transform boundaries all can form volcanoes, which release large amounts of carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, trapping heat from the sun in the atmosphere and causes global temperatures to
Get Access