North Galapagos Microplate

The North Galapagos Microplate is a small tectonic plate off the west coast of South America north of the Galapagos Islands.Coordinates: 3°45′N 101°45′W / 3.75°N 101.75°W[1] It is rotating counterclockwise between three much larger crustal plates around it, the Nazca, Cocos and Pacific Plates. To its south, another small microplate, the Galapagos Microplate is likewise rotating, but clockwise.[2] Both microplates "mesh" along the interface between them.

North Galapagos Microplate
The Galapagos Plate
FeaturesPacific Ocean
1Relative to the African Plate


  1. ^ "Columbia University Researchers Find Key to the Formation of New Seafloor Spreading Centers". December 3, 2002. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  2. ^ "Galapagos Microplate". February 23, 2005. Archived from the original on July 26, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2010.

Bird, P. (2003) An updated digital model of plate boundaries, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 4(3), 1027, doi:10.1029/2001GC000252. [1]

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).

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.



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