Tectonic plates


The tectonic plates are those that can give us an explanation of the formation of a single grave at the bottom of the sea to the highest mountain on the planet, and this has happened on earth for thousands of years. The tectonics is the theory tells us that the outer layer of the Earth is divided into several plates along the planet which are slide over the mantle and the layer internal rock located above the core. It tells us about the dynamics that occur in the outer layer of the Earth known as the lithosphereand that it revolutionized Earth science by providing a uniform context to understand the processes of mountain formation, volcanoes and earthquakes, as well as the evolution of the Earth’s surface and rearranging the continents and oceans that existed in the past.


what are tectonic plates?

They are the portions of the lithosphere located below the surface of the planet, formed of rigid material, they are located on the asthenosphere placed on top of each other, which causes them to be in constant motion and that when they move abruptly, they produce earthquakes and earthquakes .

  • Characteristics of tectonic plates
  • Formation and origin
  • Plate tectonic theory
  • Function
  • Plate tectonic movements
  • Parties
  • Types
  • What are plate tectonics
  • Location
  • Relationship with volcanoes and earthquakes

Characteristics of tectonic plates

  • They are rigid and concrete , but at the same time different from each other because their shape is very irregular.
  • There are a total of 15 tectonic plates and about 42 secondary ones.
  • They are the most solid part of the planet .
  • There are plates covered by oceans called ocean plates.
  • Through them earthquakes , earthquakes , volcanism and orogenesis are produced .
  • The Earth is the only planet that has tectonic activity through plates.
  • Oceanic plates are lighter than continental ones .

Formation and origin

The plates formed approximately 100 million years ago, in a fissure created in the Caribbean Sea where deposits of volcanic origin and magma were looking for their way out. It was at that moment that a tectonic plate was formed that began to sink. This process was repeated continuously to form the plates that we know today.


Plate tectonic theory

The theory explains to us the way in which the lithosphere is structured and how the tectonic plates located on the surface of the earth are mobilized through their landslides . It tells us how mountains were formed through orogenesis , why earthquakes and volcanoes are found in specific places around the planet, and explains why sea trenches are found next to islands. It tells us the way in which the great masses can move .


Plate tectonics is involved with the generation of a magnetic field by convection from the partially molten core of the Earth. This magnetic field is what is responsible for protecting life on earth by deflecting the solar wind . This action helps prevent erosion of our planet’s atmosphere , and removes highly energetic particles that could damage DNA. Another factor is that it recycles carbon , which is necessary to stabilize the temperature on Earth and creates through its movements the different forms of relief that we observe around us.

Plate tectonic movements

  • Convergent : occurs when the plates collide, producing elevations of the ground. They can also happen when an ocean plate will sink under the continental plate by means of subduction when the top plate is raised on the bottom. When one plate sinks over another, marine trenches are formed .
  • Divergent : Plates separate when magma rises from deep within the earth’s mantle. A divergent boundary occurs when two tectonic plates move away from each other . It can create deep depressions and continental masses .
  • Transforming : the is movement that occurs when the plates slide over each other . In this movement no magma is formed and cracking of the crust occurs , but they do not have the ability to form mountains or oceans.


Tectonic plates are made up of pieces of lithosphere that can move and are mainly composed of the oceanic crust or chasm (silicon and magnesium) and the continental crust . They are basically made up of basalt and granite rocks .


  • Oceanic plates : they are thin and are submerged at the bottom of the sea, in the oceanic crust.
  • Continental tectonic plate : they form the continents and are lighter than the oceanic ones.
  • Mixed plates : one part of them is covered with continental crust and another with oceanic crust. They are the most frequent.
  • Collision plates : they are those that have an active continental border and a passive one.

What are plate tectonics

Fifteen different main boards are currently recognized worldwide, some of them are:

  • African plate.
  • Antarctic plate.
  • South American plate.
  • North American plate.
  • Eurasian plate.
  • Australian or Indo Australian license plate.
  • Pacific Plate.
  • Plate of Coconuts
  • Nazca plate
  • Caribbean Plate
  • Philippine Plate


Tectonic plates are named according to where they are located , in this way, we find plates in: South America, North America, Europe , India, Australia , Africa, Antarctica, and in the Pacific Ocean. In addition to those mentioned above considered as primary plates , there are secondary ones and they are located in:  Cocos and the Caribbean in the Pacific Ocean in Central America , Nazca in South America, the Philippines , Scotland , etc.

Relationship with volcanoes and earthquakes

The volcanism is related to plate tectonics margins divergent and convergent . Large volcanic cracks occur in ocean basins and plate volcanoes. When two plates that have continental crust collide, no volcanic activity occurs. At the limits of the plates, different friction forces are produced which exceed the resistance of the rocks, producing a sudden release of energy and in this way earthquakes are produced .

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