List of tectonic plates

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Global earthquake epicentres, 1963–1998
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The 14 major plates plus the Scotia Plate
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Plate tectonics map from NASA


This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth. Tectonic plates are pieces of the Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around 100 km (60 miles) thick and consist of two principal types of material: oceanic crust (also called sima from silicon and magnesium) and continental crust (sial from silicon and aluminium). The composition of the two types of crust differs markedly, with basaltic rocks ("mafic") dominating oceanic crust, while continental crust consists principally of lower density granitic rocks ("felsic").

The surface of the Earth consists of 14 major plates and 38 minor ones, for a total of 52 plates.

Current plates

Major plates

Minor plates

Plates within orogens

Some models identify more minor plates within current orogens.

Ancient plates

References

Plate tectonics (from Greek τέκτων, tektōn "builder" or "mason") is a theory of geology that has been developed to explain the observed evidence for large scale motions of the Earth's lithosphere.
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crust is the outermost layer of a planet.

The crust of the Earth is composed of a great variety of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. The crust is underlain by the mantle.
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lithosphere (IPA: [ˈlɪθ.ə.sfiɹ], from the Greek for "rocky" sphere) is the solid outermost shell of a rocky planet. On the Earth, the lithosphere includes the crust and the uppermost mantle which is joined to the crust across the Mohorovičić
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Oceanic crust is the part of Earth's lithosphere that surfaces in the ocean basins. Oceanic crust is primarily composed of mafic rocks, or sima. It is thinner than continental crust, or sial, generally less than 10 kilometers thick, however it is more dense, having a mean density
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Sima is the name for the lower layer of the Earth's crust. This layer is made of rocks rich in silicates and magnesium minerals. Typically the sima when it comes to the surface is basalt, so sometimes this layer is called the 'basalt layer' of the crust.
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Silicon (IPA: /ˈsɪlɪkən/ or /ˈsɪlɪˌkɑn/, Latin: silicium
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Magnesium has the symbol Mg, the atomic number 12, and an atomic mass of 24.31. Magnesium is the ninth most abundant element in the universe by mass. It constitutes about 2% of the Earth's crust by mass, and it is the third most abundant element dissolved in seawater.
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The continental crust is the layer of granitic, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks which form the continents and the areas of shallow seabed close to their shores, known as continental shelves.
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Sial or SiAl is the name for the upper layer of the Earth's crust, which is also known as the continental crust because it is absent in the wide oceanic basins. This layer is made of rocks rich in silicates and aluminium minerals.
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Aluminium (IPA: /ˌæljʊˈmɪniəm/, /ˌæljəˈmɪniəm/) or aluminum (IPA: /əˈluːmɪnəm/
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Basalt (IPA: /ˈbæsɒlt, bəˈsɒlt/) is a common gray to black extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava on the Earth's surface.
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Rock Texture Name of Mafic Rock
Pegmatitic Gabbro pegmatite
Coarse grained (phaneritic) Gabbro
Coarse grained and porphyritic Porphyritic gabbro
Fine grained (aphanitic) Basalt
Fine grained and porphyritic Porphyritic basalt
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In physics, density is mass m per unit volume V—how heavy something is compared to its size. A small, heavy object, such as a rock or a lump of lead, is denser than a lighter object of the same size or a larger object of the same weight, such as pieces of
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Granite (IPA: /ˈɡrænɪt/) is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granites are usually medium to coarsely crystalline, occasionally with some individual crystals larger than the
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Felsic is a term used in geology to refer to silicate minerals, magmas, and rocks which are enriched in the lighter elements such as silicon, oxygen, aluminium, sodium, and potassium. The term combines the words "feldspar" and "silica.
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African Plate is a tectonic plate covering the continent of Africa and extending westward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

The westerly side is a divergent boundary with the North American Plate to the north and the South American Plate to the south forming the central and
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Antarctic Plate is a tectonic plate covering the continent of Antarctica and extending outward under the surrounding oceans. The Antarctic Plate has a boundary with the Nazca Plate, the South American Plate, the African Plate, the Indo-Australian Plate, the Scotia Plate and a
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Arabian Plate is made up of three tectonic plates (the African, Arabian and Indian crustal plates) which have been moving northward over millions of years toward an inevitable collision with Eurasia.
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Indo-Australian Plate is an overarching name for two tectonic plates that include the continent of Australia and surrounding ocean extending northwest to include the Indian subcontinent and adjacent waters.
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Caribbean Plate is a mostly oceanic tectonic plate underlying Central America and the Caribbean Sea off the north coast of South America.

Roughly 3.2 million square kilometers (1.
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Cocos Plate (Chocos Plate) is an oceanic tectonic plate beneath the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Central America, named for Cocos Island, which rides upon it.
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Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate covering Eurasia (a landmass consisting of the traditional continents of Europe and Asia) except that it does not cover the Indian subcontinent, the Arabian subcontinent, and the area east of the Verkhoyansk Range in East Siberia.
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India or Indian Plate is a minor tectonic plate. It was originally a part of the ancient continent of Gondwanaland from which it split off, eventually becoming a major plate. About 50 to 55 million years ago, it fused with the adjacent Indo-Australian Plate.
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The Juan de Fuca Plate, named after the explorer, is a tectonic plate arising from the Juan de Fuca Ridge, and subducting under the northerly portion of the western side of the North American Plate.
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Nazca Plate, named after the Nazca region of southern Peru, is an oceanic tectonic plate in the eastern Pacific Ocean basin off the west coast of South America.

The eastern margin is a convergent boundary subduction zone under the South American Plate and the Andes
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North American Plate is a tectonic plate covering most of North America, extending eastward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and westward to the Cherskiy Range in East Siberia.
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Pacific Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate beneath the Pacific Ocean.

To the north the easterly side is a divergent boundary with the Explorer Plate, the Juan de Fuca Plate and the Gorda Plate forming respectively the Explorer Ridge, the Juan de Fuca Ridge and the Gorda
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Philippine Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate beneath the Pacific Ocean to the east of the Philippines. The plate represents oceanic lithosphere that lies beneath the Philippine Sea.
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South American Plate is a tectonic plate covering the continent of South America and extending eastward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

The easterly side is a divergent boundary with the African Plate forming the southern part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
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Scotia Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate bordering the South American Plate on the north, the South Sandwich microplate to the east, and the Antarctic Plate on the south and west.

The north and south boundaries of the plate are transform fault boundaries.
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