Motagua Fault
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Motagua Fault
Motagua Fault
Motagua Fault Zone
LocationGuatemala and Mexico
PlateNorth American Plate, Caribbean Plate
Earthquakes1717, 1773, 1902, 1976, 1980, 2009
Typetransform fault

The Motagua Fault (also, Motagua Fault Zone) is a major, active left lateral-moving transform fault which cuts across Guatemala, continuing offshore along the southern Pacific coast of Mexico, returning onshore along the southernmost tip of Oaxaca, then continuing offshore until it merges with the Middle America Trench near Acapulco. It forms part of the tectonic boundary between the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate. It is considered the onshore continuation of the Swan Islands Transform Fault which runs under the Caribbean Sea.[]

The Motagua Fault is regarded by some geologists as part of a system of faults designated the "Motagua-Polochic system" rather than as a discrete single boundary. The Polochic fault (also referred to as the Chixoy-Polochic Fault) lies north and parallel to the Motagua Fault and shares some of the motion between the North American and Caribbean Plates.[]


Along the Motagua Fault trace (1976 Guatemala earthquake) where it crosses the Gualán soccer field. This zigzag type of fault trace is known as "mole track", which is best developed in hard-packed, brittle surface materials.

The Motagua Fault has been responsible for several major earthquakes in Guatemala's history, including the 7.5 Mw Guatemala 1976 earthquake, and is also notable for its significant visible fault trace.[1]


Coordinates: 15°08?N 89°22?W / 15.133°N 89.367°W / 15.133; -89.367

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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