Arabian Plate

The Arabian Plate is a tectonic plate in the northern and eastern hemispheres.

It is one of three continental plates (the African, Arabian, and Indian Plates) that have been moving northward in recent geological history and colliding with the Eurasian Plate. This is resulting in a mingling of plate pieces and mountain ranges extending in the west from the Pyrenees, crossing Southern Europe to Iran, forming the Alborz and Zagros Mountains, to the Himalayas and ranges of Southeast Asia.[2]

Arabian Plate
The Arabian Plate
Approximate area5,000,000 km2[1]
Speed115–20 mm/year
FeaturesArabian Peninsula, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean
1Relative to the African Plate


The Arabian Plate is the most common designation of the region, although it is also sometimes referred to as the Arab Plate.[3]


Eurasian & Anatolian Plate
Eurasian, Anatolian and Arabian (purple coloring) plates

The Arabian Plate consists mostly of the Arabian Peninsula; it extends eastward at the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea and northward to the Levant. The plate borders are:


The Arabian Plate was part of the African plate during much of the Phanerozoic Eon (PaleozoicCenozoic), until the Oligocene Epoch of the Cenozoic Era. Red Sea rifting began in the Eocene, but the separation of Africa and Arabia occurred approximately 25 million years ago in the Oligocene, and since then the Arabian Plate has been slowly moving toward the Eurasian Plate.[5] The opening of the Red Sea rift led to extensive volcanic activity. There are large volcanic fields called the Older Harrats, such as Harrat Khaybar and Harrat Rahat, cover large parts of the western Arabian Plate. Some activity still continues especially around Medina,[6] and there are regular eruptions within the Red Sea.[7]

The collision between the Arabian Plate and Eurasia is pushing up the Zagros Mountains of Iran. Because the Arabian Plate and Eurasian Plate collide, many cities are in danger such as those in southeastern Turkey (which is on the Arabian Plate). These dangers include earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes.


Countries within the plate include parts of the Iraq, Levant (eastern Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan), the entire Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen), and Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. Regions include parts of the Southern Denkalya Subregion, the Southeastern Anatolia Region, Awdal and the Khuzestan Province.


  1. ^ "Sizes of Tectonic or Lithospheric Plates". 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  2. ^ Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "Tectonics of the Arabian Plate". The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. NASA. Archived from the original on 6 July 2007. Retrieved 21 July 2007.
  3. ^ Unal, Bunyamin, Mucahit Eren, and M. Gurhan Yalcin. "Investigation of leakage at Ataturk dam and hydroelectric power plant by means of hydrometric measurements." Engineering Geology 93.1 (2007): 45-63.
  4. ^ arabia2 (2014-09-15). "Plate Boundaries of the Arabian Plate – GEOS 309: Tectonics". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  5. ^ "Arabian Plate - African/Arabian Tectonic Plates". Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  6. ^ "Volcanoes of Saudi Arabia". 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  7. ^ Wenbin Xu; et al. (2015-05-26). "Birth of two volcanic islands in the southern Red Sea". Nature Communications 6, Article number: 7104.
2013 Saravan earthquake

The 2013 Saravan earthquake occurred with a moment magnitude of 7.7 at 15:14 pm IRDT (UTC+4:30) on 16 April. The shock struck a mountainous area between the cities of Saravan and Khash in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran, close to the border with Pakistan, with a duration of about 25 seconds. The earthquake occurred at an intermediate depth in the Arabian plate lithosphere, near the boundary between the subducting Arabian Plate and the overriding Eurasian Plate at a depth of about 80 km.It was the largest earthquake in Iran within the last 40 years, equal in magnitude to the one that shook Tabas in 1978 killing 15,000, and possibly the largest in the last half-century. The earthquake followed a magnitude 6.3 event near Bushehr. The town of Mashkel was close to the quake's epicentre, and around 85 percent of the city's buildings were demolished. Thirty-five people were killed in the earthquake.

African Plate

The African Plate is a major tectonic plate straddling the equator as well as the prime meridian. It includes much of the continent of Africa, as well as oceanic crust which lies between the continent and various surrounding ocean ridges. Between 60 million years ago and 10 million years ago, the Somali Plate began rifting from the African Plate along the East African Rift. Since the continent of Africa consists of crust from both the African and the Somali plates, some literature refers to the African Plate as the Nubian Plate to distinguish it from the continent as a whole.

Aleppo plateau

Aleppo plateau (Arabic: هضبة حلب‎ [ˈhædˤabæt ˈħælæb]) is a low, gently undulating plateau of northern Syria. It lies at the northern end of the junction between the Arabian Plate and the African Plate at the Dead Sea Rift. The plateau lies mostly in the Aleppo Governorate and Idlib Governorate. Aleppo is located in the north-center of the plateau.

Anatolian Plate

The Anatolian Plate or the Turkish Plate is a continental tectonic plate comprising most of the Anatolia (Asia Minor) peninsula (and the country of Turkey).

To the east, the East Anatolian Fault, a left lateral transform fault, forms a boundary with the Arabian Plate. To the south and southwest is a convergent boundary with the African Plate. This convergence manifests in compressive features within the oceanic crust beneath the Mediterranean as well as within the continental crust of Anatolia itself, and also by what are generally considered to be subduction zones along the Hellenic and Cyprus arcs.

The northern edge is a transform boundary with the Eurasian Plate, forming the North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ).

Research indicates that the Anatolian Plate is rotating counterclockwise as it is being pushed west by the Arabian Plate, impeded from any northerly movement by the Eurasian Plate. In some references, the Anatolian Plate is referred to as a "block" of continental crust still coupled to the Eurasian Plate. But studies of the North Anatolian Fault indicate that Anatolia is de-coupled from the Eurasian Plate. It is now being squeezed by the Arabian Plate from the east and forced toward the west as the Eurasian Plate to its north is blocking motion in that direction. The African Plate is subducting beneath the Anatolian Plate along the Cyprus and Hellenic Arcs offshore in the Mediterranean Sea.

Arabian (disambiguation)

The word Arabian may refer to:

politically, all citizens of the countries of the Arabian peninsula, which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Oman

linguistically: related to the Arabian Peninsula or, in a broader sense, to the Arabian Plate

The ArabsArabian may also refer to:

Armand Arabian (1934-2018), American judge

Arabian (video game)

Arabian Business magazine

Arabian Desert

Arabian horse

Arabian mythology

Arabian Nights, or One Thousand and One Nights

Arabian oryx

Arabian Peninsula

Arabian Plate

Arabian Sea

USS Arabian (1896), a United States Navy tug in service from 1918 to 1919

Dead Sea Transform

The Dead Sea Transform (DST) fault system, also sometimes referred to as the Dead Sea Rift, is a series of faults that run from the Maras Triple Junction (a junction with the East Anatolian Fault in southeastern Turkey) to the northern end of the Red Sea Rift (just offshore of the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula). The fault system forms the transform boundary between the African Plate to the west and the Arabian Plate to the east. It is a zone of left lateral displacement, signifying the relative motions of the two plates. Both plates are moving in a general north-northeast direction, but the Arabian Plate is moving faster, resulting in the observed left lateral motions along the fault of approximately 107 km. A component of extension is also present in the southern part of the transform, which has contributed to a series of depressions, or pull-apart basins, forming the Gulf of Aqaba, Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee and Hula basins.

East Anatolian Fault

The East Anatolian Fault is a major strike-slip fault zone in eastern Turkey. It forms the transform type tectonic boundary between the Anatolian Plate and the northward-moving Arabian Plate. The difference in the relative motions of the two plates is manifest in the left lateral motion along the fault. The East and North Anatolian faults together accommodate the westward motion of the Anatolian Plate as it is squeezed out by the ongoing collision with the Eurasian Plate.

The East Anatolian Fault runs in a northeasterly direction, starting from the Maras Triple Junction at the northern end of the Dead Sea Transform, and ending at the Karliova Triple Junction where it meets the North Anatolian Fault.

Eurasian Plate

The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate which includes most of the continent of Eurasia (a landmass consisting of the traditional continents of Europe and Asia), with the notable exceptions of the Indian subcontinent, the Arabian subcontinent, and the area east of the Chersky Range in East Siberia. It also includes oceanic crust extending westward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and northward to the Gakkel Ridge.

The eastern side is a boundary with the North American Plate to the north and a boundary with the Philippine Sea Plate to the south and possibly with the Okhotsk Plate and the Amurian Plate. The southerly side is a boundary with the African Plate to the west, the Arabian Plate in the middle and the Indo-Australian Plate to the east. The westerly side is a divergent boundary with the North American Plate forming the northernmost part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is straddled by Iceland. All of the volcanic eruptions in Iceland, such as the 1973 eruption of Eldfell, the 1783 eruption of Laki, and the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, are caused by the North American and the Eurasian plates moving apart, which is a result of divergent plate boundary forces.

The geodynamics of central Asia is dominated by the interaction between the Eurasian and Indian Plates. In this area, many subplates or crust blocks have been recognized, which form the Central Asian and the East Asian transit zones.

Geography of Yemen

Yemen is located in Southwest Asia at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula between Oman and Saudi Arabia. It is situated at the entrance to the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which links the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean (via the Gulf of Aden) and is one of the most active and strategic shipping lanes in the world. Yemen has an area of 527,970 square kilometres (203,850 sq mi), including the islands of Perim at the southern end of the Red Sea and Socotra at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden. Yemen's land boundaries total 1,746 kilometres (1,085 mi). Yemen borders Saudi Arabia to the north (1,458 km or 906 mi) and Oman to the northeast (288 km or 179 mi).

Geology of Djibouti

The geology of Djibouti consists largely of volcanic rocks from the Miocene to Holocene epochs. There are more recent alluvial deposits with coral on the coast, as well as Cenozoic sedimentary. Amba Aradam Sandstones from the Jurassic Period are found in the southeast of the country.

Geology of Georgia (country)

The geology of Georgia is the study of rocks, minerals, water, landforms and geologic history in Georgia. The country is dominated by the Caucasus Mountains at the junction of the Eurasian Plate and the Afro-Arabian Plate, and rock units from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic are particularly prevalent. For much of its geologic history, until the uplift of the Caucasus, Georgia was submerged by marine transgression events. Geologic research for 150 years by Georgian and Russian geologists has shed significant light on the region and since the 1970s has been augmented with the understanding of plate tectonics.

Geology of Iraq

The geology of Iraq includes thick sequences of marine and continental sedimentary rocks over poorly understood basement rock, at the junction of the Arabian, Anatolian and Iranian plate.

Geology of Oman

The geology of Oman includes varied landscapes which are a blend of its geological history, and its climate over the past few million years. Rock outcrops in Al Hajar Mountains, the Huqf and Dhofar are a point of interest for international geologists. The rock record spans about 825 million years and includes at least three periods when the country was covered by ice.

Oman, located at the southeast corner of the Arabian plate, is being pushed slowly northward, as the Red Sea grows wider. The lofty Hajar Mountains and the drowned valleys of Musandam are dramatic reminders of this. Generally speaking Oman is fairly quiescent tectonically. Musandan experiences occasional tremors as the Arabian Plate collides with the Eurasian Plate.

During the Cretaceous Period Oman was located adjacent to a subduction zone and a portion of the upper mantle along with overlying seafloor volcanic rocks were thrust over the continental crust. This obducted sequence of ultramafic to mafic rocks is the Semail Ophiolite complex. The ophiolite is locally rich in copper and chromite orebodies.The interior plains of Oman are of young sedimentary rocks, wadi gravels, dune sands and salt flats. Beneath them is a several kilometre-thick stack of older sedimentary rocks that host the country’s hydrocarbon resources. Ancient salt, which comes to the surface in several salt domes such as Qarat Kibrit, plays an important role in forming many of these oil and gas accumulations.

Geology of Somalia

The geology of Somalia is built on more than 700 million year old igneous and metamorphic crystalline basement rock, which outcrops at some places in northern Somalia. These ancient units are covered in thick layers of sedimentary rock formed in the last 200 million years and influenced by the rifting apart of the Somali Plate and the Arabian Plate. The geology of Somaliland, the de facto independent country in northern Somalia, is to some degree better studied than that of Somalia as a whole. Instability related to the Somali Civil War and previous political upheaval has limited geologic research in places while heightening the importance of groundwater resources for vulnerable populations.

Geology of Somaliland

The geology of Somaliland is very closely related to the geology of Somalia. Somaliland is a de facto independent country within the boundaries that the international community recognizes as Somalia. Because it encompasses the former territory of British Somaliland, the region is historically better researched than former Italian Somaliland. Somaliland is built on more than 700 million year old igneous and metamorphic crystalline basement rock.. These ancient units are covered in thick layers of sedimentary rock formed in the last 200 million years and influenced by the rifting apart of the Somali Plate and the Arabian Plate.

Iranian Plate

The Iranian Plate is thought to underlie Iran and Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan and Iraq.

It is compressed between the Arabian Plate to the south and the Eurasian Plate to the north. This compression is likely a cause for the very mountainous terrain of the area including the Zagros Mountains.

Karlıova Triple Junction

The Karlıova Triple Junction is a geologic triple junction of three tectonic plates: the Anatolian Plate, the Eurasian Plate and the Arabian Plate.

The Karlıova Triple Junction is found where the east-west trending North Anatolian Fault intersects the East Anatolian Fault coming up from the southwest. Because each arm of the junction is a transform fault (F), the Karlıova Triple Junction is an F-F-F type junction.}

Red Sea Rift

The Red Sea Rift is a spreading center between two tectonic plates, the African Plate and the Arabian Plate. It extends from the Dead Sea Transform fault system, and ends at an intersection with the Aden Ridge and the East African Rift, forming the Afar Triple Junction in the Afar Depression of the Horn of Africa.

The Red Sea Rift was formed by the divergence between the African Plate and the Arabian Plate. The rift transitioned from a continental rift to an oceanic rift. Magnetic anomalies suggest that the spreading rate on either side of the Red Sea is about 1 cm/year. The African plate has a rotation rate of 0.9270 degrees/Ma, while the Arabian plate has a rotation rate of 1.1616 degrees/Ma.

Zagros fold and thrust belt

The Zagros fold and thrust belt (Zagros FTB) is an approximately 1,800-kilometre (1,100 mi) long zone of deformed crustal rocks, formed in the foreland of the collision between the Arabian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. It is host to one of the world's largest petroleum provinces, containing about 49% of the established hydrocarbon reserves in fold and thrust belts and about 7% of all reserves globally.

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