HOME
        TheInfoList



This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around 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 mafic basaltic rocks dominating oceanic crust, while continental crust consists principally of lower-density felsic granitic rocks.

Current plates

thumb|Map showing Earth's principal tectonic plates and their boundaries in detail Geologists generally agree that the following tectonic plates currently exist on Earth's surface with roughly definable boundaries. Tectonic plates are sometimes subdivided into three fairly arbitrary categories: ''major'' (or ''primary'') ''plates'', ''minor'' (or ''secondary'') ''plates'', and ''microplates'' (or ''tertiary plates'').

Major plates

These plates comprise the bulk of the continents and the Pacific Ocean. For purposes of this list, a major plate is any plate with an area greater than 20 million km2. * – 61,300,000 km2 * – 60,900,000 km2 * – 67,800,000 km2 * – 58,900,000 km2 often considered two plates: ** – 47,000,000 km2 ** – 11,900,000 km2 * – 75,900,000 km2 * – 103,300,000 km2 * – 43,600,000 km2

Minor plates

These smaller plates are often not shown on major plate maps, as the majority do not comprise significant land area. For purposes of this list, a minor plate is any plate with an area less than 20 million km2 but greater than 1 million km2. * – 16,700,000 km2 * – 15,600,000 km2 * – 11,900,000 km2 * * * – 5,500,000 km2 * * – 5,000,000 km2 * * – 3,300,000 km2 * – 2,900,000 km2 * – 1,700,000 km2 * – 1,600,000 km2 * – 1,100,000 km2 * – 1,100,000 km2

Microplates

These plates are often grouped with an adjacent major plate on a major plate map. For purposes of this list, a microplate is any plate with an area less than 1 million km2. Some models identify more minor plates within current orogens (events that lead to a large structural deformation of Earth's lithosphere) like the Apulian, Explorer, Gorda, and Philippine Mobile Belt plates. There may be scientific consensus as to whether such plates should be considered distinct portions of the crust; thus, new research could change this list. * African Plate ** ** ** ** Victoria Microplate ** * Antarctic Plate ** ** ** * Australian Plate ** ** ** ** ** ** ** * Caribbean Plate ** ** ** South Jamaica Microplate ** North Hispaniola Microplate ** Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands Microplate * Cocos Plate ** * Eurasian Plate ** ** ** ** ** ** ** *** *** ** ** ** ** * Nazca Plate ** ** * North American Plate ** ** ** ** * Pacific Plate ** ** ** ** ** ** – 250,000 km2 ** ** ** ** ** ** ** * Philippine Sea Plate ** ** * South American Plate ** Altiplano Plate ** Falklands Microplate ** (mainly in Colombia, minor parts in Ecuador and Venezuela) *** Chibcha Terrane (Andean Region) *** Caribbean Terrane (Eastern Caribbean Region) *** Tahamí Terrane (Central Andean Region)

Ancient continental formations

In the history of Earth many tectonic plates have come into existence and have over the intervening years either accreted onto other plates to form larger plates, rifted into smaller plates, or have been crushed by or subducted under other plates.


Ancient supercontinents


* The following list includes the supercontinents known or speculated to have existed in the Earth's past: * * * * * * * * * * * *


Ancient plates and cratons


Not all plate boundaries are easily defined, especially for ancient pieces of crust. The following list of ancient cratons, microplates, plates, shields, terranes, and zones no longer exist as separate plates. ''Cratons'' are the oldest and most stable parts of the continental lithosphere and ''shields'' are the exposed area of a craton(s). ''Microplates'' are tiny tectonic plates, ''terranes'' are fragments of crustal material formed on one tectonic plate and accreted to crust lying on another plate, and ''zones'' are bands of similar rocks on a plate formed by terrane accretion or native rock formation. Terranes may or may not have originated as independent microplates: a terrane may not contain the full thickness of the lithosphere.


African Plate


* * (Zambia) * (Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Sudan, and Zambia) * (South Africa) * (South Africa) * (Algeria) * (Zimbabwe) * (Tanzania) * (Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo) * Zaire Craton (Congo) * (Zimbabwe)


Antarctic Plate


* * * *


Eurasian Plate


* (France, Germany, Spain and Portugal) * (Canada, Great Britain, and United States) * * Belomorian Craton * Central Iberian Plate * (Anatolia, Iran, Afghanistan, Tibet, Indochina and Malaya) * East China Craton * * * and Eastern Kazakhstan * * * and the Junngar Basin in China * * * * * Moravo Silesian Plate * * * * Ossa-Morena Plate * * Proto-Alps Terrane * * * * * South Portuguese Plate * Tarim Craton * Teplá-Barrandian Terrane * * * Volgo-Uralian Craton * Yakutai Craton *


Indo-Australian Plate


* Altjawarra Craton (Australia) * Bhandara Craton, (India) * Bundelkhand Craton, (India) * * Central Craton (Australia) * Curnamona Craton (Australia) * * * * * Singhbhum Craton (India) * * * . See Moa Plate and Lord Howe Rise


North American Plate


* (Canada, Great Britain, and United States) * * (Canada) * (split into the Cocos, Explorer, Juan de Fuca, Gorda Plates, Nazca Plate, and Rivera Plates) * (United States) * (Canada) * (Canada and United States) * * * * Mexican Plate * (Canada) * Newfoundland Plate * * Nova Scotia Plate * (Canada) * Sask Craton (Canada) * (Canada) * (Canada) * (Canada) * (United States)


South American Plate


* (Brazil) * (Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela) * (Argentina and Uruguay) * (Brazil) * (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru)


See also


* * * ** ** * ** ** * ** ** * ** ** * * * * **List of tectonic plate interactions – Types of plate boundaries * *


Notes and references





Notes





References





Bibliography


;North Andes Plate * * * *


Further reading





External links


* Bird, Peter (2003
''An updated digital model of plate boundaries''
also available as
large (13 Mb) PDF file
{{DEFAULTSORT:List Of Tectonic Plates Tectonic plates *