Immense portions of the lithosphere that slide over the asthenosphere; this shifting movement shapes the Earth’s topography.
Plate along the coast of Mexico and Central America; it is sinking beneath the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate.
North American Plate
Together with the Pacific Plate, this plate creates the San Andreas Fault (750 mi), which extends from the Gulf of California to San Francisco.
The largest plate; it is stationary.
Plate that is moving north 3 in per year; it forms the Red Sea by means of divergence from the African Plate.
Plate that forms the Philippines archipelago by means of subduction with the Eurasian Plate.
Plate converging with the Australian-Indian Plate; it created the Himalayas.
Plate that, diverging from the South American Plate, forms an underwater mountain chain.
South American Plate
Plate that forms the Andes cordillera by means of subduction with the Nazca Plate.
Small plate under which the Antarctic Plate and part of the South American Plate are sliding.
One of the most rapidly shifting plates, moving 3 in per year.
Plate subducting under the American plates; the Caribbean Plate created the islands of the Lesser Antilles.
The only entirely oceanic plate, it is also among the most rapidly shifting plates (4 in per year).
transform plate boundaries
Plates that slide against each other, triggering earthquakes along faults of the same name.
convergent plate boundaries
Plates that collide, triggering either subduction or folding, which results in the creation of mountains.
divergent plate boundaries
Plates that are moving apart, causing magma to appear, which solidifies to generate a new crust.
Phenomenon by which an oceanic plate slides under a continental plate or under another oceanic plate, resulting in a trench.