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What Are Tectonic Plates? About The Earth’s Plates

TECTONIC PLATES – In this topic, we are going to know about tectonic plates and stuff to know about these plates.

Image from: ThoughtCo

They are pieces of the lithosphere, which is basically the Earth’s crust and the uppermost mantle.

The lithosphere is divided into these pieces that move slowly closely to each other.

The plate movement is driven by the convection in the underlying hot and viscous mantle, according to GNS.

There are eight major plates, they are the following:

  • Pacific Plate
  • North American Plate
  • Eurasian Plate
  • African Plate
  • Antarctic Plate
  • Indo-Australian Plate
    • Australian Plate
    • Indian Plate
  • South American Plate

Plate Boundaries

Plate boundaries are located at the edges of these plates. There, earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation occur in zones that may be anything from a few kilometers to a few hundred kilometers wide.

There are three main types:

  • Convergent boundaries
    • This is where two plates are colliding. When one or both of the plates are composed of oceanic crust, subduction zones occur. The denser plate subducts underneath the less dense plate. Eventually, the plate being forced under is melted and destroyed.
  • Divergent boundaries
    • Here is where two plates are moving apart. The space created within the boundaries can also fill with new crustal material which is sourced from molten magma, which forms below. These boundaries can also form within continents but will also open up and become ocean basins.
  • Transform boundaries
    • This type of boundary is where plates slide passed each other. The relative motion of the plates is horizontal and can occur underwater or on land. The crust, then, is neither destroyed nor created.

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