Antarctic Plate

The Antarctic Plate is one of the largest continental plates (or tectonic plates ) of the Earth. It consists predominantly of continental (ie granithaltigem, "light" ) Erdkrustengestein, but also includes a small proportion of severe oceanic ( basaltic ) crust.

Location and boundaries

The Antarctic plate extends under the entire Antarctic continent and the surrounding Southern Ocean ( Antarctic Ocean ), and sometimes reaches into the southern areas of the Pacific and Indian Ocean. It occupies the entire south side of the planet. The Antarctic Plate is bordered to the north ( clockwise ) to the South American Plate, the African Plate, the Australian Plate, the Pacific Plate and the Nazcaplatte. May exist in the transition zones to the large neighboring plates some more smaller plates; their existence has not yet been unequivocally ascertained.

Tectonic activity

The Antarctic plate moves in the course of plate tectonics with an absolute velocity of about 2 cm per year. Since you can also find all the other tectonic plates of the earth in constant motion is their relative velocity generally lower; it is, for example with respect to the Pacific plate good one centimeter per year. However, this is only a general average value; isolated may also occur substantially larger annual movements along plate boundaries, because the motion of the Antarctic plate - and all other - due to the spherical shape of the earth is not linear, but rather a rotating.

The Antarctic plate, in contrast to many other large continental plates exclusively on undersea borders with neighboring plates. On long sections, most of the transitions to the Pacific and Australian plate, the phenomenon of Sea -Floor Spreading occurs.