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  • Writer's pictureCari Mackey

How the Isthmus of Panama was created.

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

We are such curious beings right? But then, isn't every creature? Does it taste good, should I drink it, eat it, touch or smell it? Where did it come from, and how is it made? Well, maybe the animals don't ask how it's made.

The beauty of Panama comes from all angles, shapes, and sizes. The beaches come in all different colors, the rivers the waterfalls, mountains and oh man, the oceans! Diversity. The very basis of what makes our planet so incredibly beautiful and this little tiny country has got it goin' on.

In our area, we have mountains over 5,000 feet (volcanic origin), a rugged coastline with long stretches of soft brown sand beaches but then there are the tiny islands with bright white sand. Although the story isn't quite as detailed and long as the walls of the Grand Canyon, the geology of Panama sure is fascinating.

So, what is that I am standing on? This area of the country has the oldest rocks found in Panama and the geologists are digging it. Funny right?

Essentially, Panama was not always a land bridge between the Americas like it is now. During the excavation of the canal in the late 1800's and then again around 10 years ago when the expansion was done, scientists discovered fossils dating back to over 20 million years ago proving it didn't come up to join the surface party until then. A mere 20 million? Panama is just a baby especially when you compare her to the likes of Australia at 4.4 billion years old. Whoah.

Anyways, between 20 million and 3 million years ago, the tectonic plates in the ocean started shoving each other around, and things started getting heated. In the "fiery" battle, one plate made a volcano and so then the other one did too. Sounds like a good time. They kept at it until they joined forces, and created a land mass above water.

Pretty simple, right? Scientists are still researching exactly when this all went down but either way, animals were stoked to make new friends. Some cold northerners made their way south and vice versa. Spreading their wings, and their seeds and cruising around while the creatures of the Seas might have had a bit harder of a time. All of a sudden, they had to swim all the way down to Cape Horn in order to get to the other side of the ocean to see their friends again. I bet they were happy for the canal to get built!

Geology not even 101 for Panama. You're welcome! We hope life is treating you well and you are getting excited to come visit us here. Maybe we can go looking for ancient rocks together.

We would love to hear from you. Meanwhile, sending you so much love from Panama.

Your Friends in Morrillo,

Cari and Ryan Mackey

Owners and Hosts

Morrillo Beach Eco Resort

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