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Map of Plates and Their Boundaries


Plates and Their Boundaries
21 major plates and their boundary types

From This Dynamic Planet. Click the image for the 1100-pixel version.

U.S. Geological Survey image
This map was published in 2006 by the U.S. Geological Survey and shows much more detail than the basic plate map. Click the image to see it at full size. It shows the plate boundaries as divergent (spreading), convergent (colliding), transform (sideways slipping) or diffuse, in which there is not a bright line where one plate gives way to another but a broad zone of deformation. Diffuse boundaries are generally areas of mountain-building (orogeny). The teeth along the convergent boundaries mark the upper side, which is overriding the other side. Many convergent boundaries correspond to subduction zones.

This map shows many plates that are too small to label—today there are more than 50 recognized plates. It also shows the general motions of the plates. And it marks the locations of a number of major and minor hotspots.

Back to the World Plate Tectonic Maps list

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