South American Plate

South American Plate
The South American Plate
Approximate area43,600,000 km2 (16,800,000 sq mi)[1]
Speed127–34 mm (1.1–1.3 in)/year
FeaturesSouth America, Atlantic Ocean
1Relative to the African Plate

The South American Plate is a major tectonic plate which includes the continent of South America as well as a sizable region of the Atlantic Ocean seabed extending eastward to the African Plate, with which it forms the southern part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

The easterly edge is a divergent boundary with the African Plate; the southerly edge is a complex boundary with the Antarctic Plate, the Scotia Plate, and the Sandwich Plate; the westerly edge is a convergent boundary with the subducting Nazca Plate; and the northerly edge is a boundary with the Caribbean Plate and the oceanic crust of the North American Plate. At the Chile Triple Junction, near the west coast of the TaitaoTres Montes Peninsula, an oceanic ridge known as the Chile Rise is actively subducting under the South American Plate.

Geological research suggests that the South American Plate is moving westward away from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: "Parts of the plate boundaries consisting of alternations of relatively short transform fault and spreading ridge segments are represented by a boundary following the general trend."[2] As a result, the eastward-moving and more dense Nazca Plate is subducting under the western edge of the South American Plate, along the continent's Pacific coast, at a rate of 77 mm (3.0 in) per year.[3] The collision of these two plates is responsible for lifting the massive Andes Mountains and for creating the numerous volcanoes (including both stratovolcanoes and shield volcanoes) that are strewn throughout them.[4][5]

See also

  • Fifteen-Twenty Fracture Zone


  1. ^ "Here are the Sizes of Tectonic or Lithospheric Plates". Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  2. ^ Meijer, P.T.; Wortel, M.J.R. (July 30, 1992). "The Dynamics of Motion of the South American Plate". Journal of Geophysical Research. 97 (B8): 11915. Bibcode:1992JGR....9711915M. doi:10.1029/91jb01123.
  3. ^ Pisco, Peru, Earthquake of August 15, 2007: Lifeline Performance. Reston, VA: ASCE, Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering. 2010. ISBN 9780784410615. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012.
  4. ^ "Convergent Plate Boundaries - Oceanic/Continental: The Andes". The Geological Society. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  5. ^ Penvenne, Laura Jean (27 January 1996). "South America buckles under the pressure". New Scientist. Retrieved 2 July 2018.

Media files used on this page

Tectonic plates boundaries World map Wt 180degE centered-en.svg
(c) "Eric Gaba for Wikimedia Commons", CC BY-SA 3.0
World map in English showing the tectonic plates boundaries with their movement vectors and selected hotspots.
Symbol file class.svg
(c) Font Awesome by Dave Gandy -, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Symbol for File-Class on the English Wikipedia

Author/Creator: Alataristarion, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
A map of the South American plate
Mapa de Amenaza Sísmica de Colombia.png
Author/Creator: Grundkarte Shadowxfox, Relief Alexrk2, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Carte du risque sismique en Colombie
Coiba & Malpelo Plates and major seismic faults of Colombia.jpg
Author/Creator: Tisquesusa, Licence: CC BY 4.0
Tectonic situation of Pacific Colombia.

Dark red - Coiba Plate
Purple - Malpelo Plate
Red double line - Panama Transform Fault
Green double line - Coiba Transform Fault
Pink thick line - Colombian Deep Trench

Red single lines - from north to south Unguía Fault, Bahía Solano Fault, Naya-Micay Fault and Remolino-El Charco Fault
Blue single lines - Romeral Fault System
Yellow single lines - Eastern Frontal Fault System
Orange single line - Bucaramanga-Santa Marta Fault
White single lines - other major faults of Colombia


Author/Creator: Alataristarion, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Map of the North Andes Plate