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GPS velocity data are used to estimate the Euler vector describing rigid body motion of North America relative to South America. Assuming the boundary between the North and South American plates is located near the Fifteen Twenty fracture zone in the equatorial Atlantic, the Euler vector predicts extension across the Royal Trough up to 1 mm/yr, and convergence across the Barracuda Ridge at about 2 mm/yr, in agreement with geological estimates averaged over tens of millions of years. Further west, convergence between North and South America at rates up to 8 mm/yr may contribute to deformation of the Caribbean plate along its southwest boundary with South America.

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Geophysical Research Letters, v. 24, issue 5, p. 535-538

Copyright 1997 by the American Geophysical Union.