The Niuafo'ou Plate is a small tectonic plate located west of the islands of Tonga. This plate is sandwiched between the Pacific Plate to the north, the very unstable Tonga Plate to the east and the Australian Plate to the west. It is primarily surrounded by convergent boundaries. This plate is riddled with active faults thus making the area extremely earthquake prone.
The Futuna Plate is a very small tectonic plate located near the south Pacific island of Futuna. It is sandwiched between the Pacific Plate to the north and the Australian Plate to the south with the Niuafo'ou Plate to the east.Geology of the Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean evolved in the Mesozoic from the Panthalassic Ocean, which had formed when Rodinia rifted apart around 750 Ma. The first ocean floor which is part of the current Pacific Plate began 160 Ma to the west of the central Pacific and subsequently developed into the largest oceanic plate on Earth.The tectonic plates continue to move today. The slowest spreading ridge is the Gakkel Ridge on the Arctic Ocean floor, which spreads at less than 2.5 cm/year (1 in/year), while the fastest, the East Pacific Rise near Easter Island, has a spreading rate of over 15 cm/year (6 in/year).Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone
The Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone is a convergent plate boundary that stretches from the North Island of New Zealand northward. The formation of the Kermadec and Tonga Plates started about 4–5 million years ago. Today, the eastern boundary of the Tonga Plate is one of the fastest subduction zones, with a rate up to 24 cm/yr. The trench formed between the Kermadec-Tonga and Pacific Plates is also home to the second deepest trench in the world, at about 10,800 m, as well as the longest chain of submerged volcanoes.List of tectonic plates
This is a list of tectonic plates on the Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around 100 km (62 mi) thick and consist of two principal types of material: oceanic crust (also called sima from silicon and magnesium) and continental crust (sial from silicon and aluminium). The composition of the two types of crust differs markedly, with mafic basaltic rocks dominating oceanic crust, while continental crust consists principally of lower-density felsic granitic rocks.Tonga Trench
The Tonga Trench is an oceanic trench located in the south-west Pacific Ocean. It is the deepest trench of the Southern Hemisphere and the second deepest on Earth. The fastest plate tectonic velocity on Earth occurs as the Pacific Plate is being subducted westward in the trench.
When the Apollo 13 mission was aborted in 1970 following an explosion in an oxygen tank, the radioisotope thermoelectric generator broke up in the atmosphere and the heat source plunged in or near the Tonga Trench. Atmospheric and oceanic monitoring indicate no release of nuclear fuel has occurred.