SOUTH AMERICAN PLATE: Tectonic Boundary and Movement

South American Plate Tectonics

Earth has 7 major plate tectonic boundaries and 10 or so minor ones. Of the 7 major plates, the South American Plate is the smallest plate right after the Indo-Australian Plate.

Earth’s tectonic plate boundaries consist of both continent and ocean crust. For example, the South American Plate contains a large portion of the Atlantic Ocean within it.

Plate tectonics are never idle. For example, the South American Plate moves at an average rate of about 3 centimeters per year. That’s about how fast your nails grow each year.

The South American Plate is the smallest major plate

South American Plate

The South American plate is a major plate that includes the continent of South America and a large portion of the Atlantic Ocean.

At the west side of South America, it experiences devastating earthquakes due to the convergent plate tectonic boundaries.

But the eastern edge lies in the Atlantic Ocean at a divergent plate boundary. Along the African Plate boundary, these two plate boundaries pull apart from each other. This diverging plate motion creates some of the youngest oceanic crust on the planet.

At about 43,600,000 km2 in size, it’s smallest major plate on Earth.

The plate tectonic lesson kick-start

plate tectonics map

Brazil, Argentina and the Atlantic Ocean sit on the South American plate. What about some of the other major plates? Take a look at some of the hand-picked articles below.

  • 7 Major Tectonic Plates: The World’s Largest Plate Tectonics
    From large to small, the 7 major tectonic plates include the Pacific, North American, Eurasian, African, Antarctic, Indo-Australian and South American plate.
  • Plate Tectonics Types: Divergent, Convergent and Transform Plates
    Earth has 12 major tectonic plate boundaries (with smaller micro plates). They interact by either diverging, converging or sliding across from each other.
  • Pacific Ring Of Fire: Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics
    The Pacific Ring of Fire has the most active chains of volcanoes in the world. This is because tectonic plates collide and sink at these zones of subduction.
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