Geologists believe that the surface of the earth is covered with a number of huge tectonic plates that move slowly over millions of years, causing the earth's surface to change constantly. Like most of Central America, Costa Rica's geological history can be traced back to the impact of the Cocos Plate moving northeast and crashing into the Caribbean Plate at a rate of about 10 cm every year - quite fast by geological standards. The point of impact is called a subduction zone, in which the Cocos Plate forces the edge of the Caribbean Plate to break up and become uplifted.
This is not a smooth process and hence Central America is an area prone to earthquakes and volcanic activities. This process began underwater and has been going on for about five million years. Most of Costa Rica itself is about three million years old, with the exception of the peninsula of Nicoya, which is many millions of years older. Most of the mountain ranges in Costa Rica are volcanic, the exception is the massive Cordillera de Talamanca in the south, the largest range in Costa Rica. This is a granite batholith, or intruded igneous rock that formed under great pressure below the surface of the earth and was uplifted.
Text by Lonely Planet.
Pictures by ICT, Instituto Nacional de Tourismo. The team of 1-CostaRicaLink and Costa-Rica-Information-Mobile wishes you the best of times in our little paradise called Costa Rica.
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