Arabian Plate

With Arabian plate one of the smaller continental plates is referred to in plate tectonics, which includes the Arabian Peninsula and southeast Turkey expands. Geologically, the Arabian plate to Africa.

Geographical location

The plate is adjacent to the African Plate to the west and southwest, to the Indian plate in the southeast, to the Eurasian Plate to the east and to the Anatolian plate to the north. In addition, it forms together with the African plate to ditch the Red Sea, and the northern part of the Great African grave breach.

Plate edge

The southwestern divergent plate boundary ( divergently ) located in the Red Sea, lying there so the 244 m high volcano Jabal at- Tair arises, among other things, but it also extends to the eastern African continent. There in the volcanically active Afar Depression is the triple point where three plate boundaries collide. From there, still leads a small piece of the divergent plate boundary to the east ( Aden - back), to the east of the Gulf of Aden in transform faults (eg, Owen Fracture Zone) and the Murray Ridge in the north of the Arabian Sea, part the Indian Ocean to proceed.

The northeast of the Arabian Plate is a mostly convergent plate boundary ( crashing ). The plate boundary begins in the east near the Iranian- Pakistani Makran coast in the Arabian Sea. Due to the subduction of oceanic crust 500 km which today no longer active volcanoes Bazman and Taftan originated there to 600 km northward. The plate boundary is in the Strait of Hormuz inland, passing through some western Iranian provinces where continental crust bulges to the Zagros Mountains, and ends in eastern Anatolia, Turkey. There, the Taurus Mountains and the Armenian highlands caused by the formation of mountains.

To the northwest is a transform fault (East Anatolian Fault), which, starting from the south-eastern Turkey forms the western plate boundary and leads over the course of the River Orontes and the Jordan Valley to the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea.


The Red Sea is one of up to 2,604 m deep strait to the north by 0.8 cm by 1.6 cm in the south and widens every year.

The geologically oldest part of the Arabian Plate, the Arabian Plate, which is next to the Red Sea. Here are the Hejaz, Asir Mountains and the aib the 3,760 meter high mountain Jabal an-Nabi Shu ʿ in Yemen.

In the center and partly in the east of the Arabian plate which came to the surface in the western Precambrian rock is covered by a growing until about 10 km thick layer of sedimentary rock. There you will find large underground salt basins, which partially umformten to salt domes. Because of impermeable rock layers also deposits of oil and natural gas are originated there. The largest oil fields are the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia and the Burgan oil field in Kuwait. The largest gas field, the North Field in Qatar, which is continued in Iran. On the Iranian and Iraqi side of the Persian Gulf and the area around Mosul, in Iraq, there are other deposits. In the Oman ophiolite mountains to find it, so pushed to the mainland former ocean floor.

Geological History

100 million years ago the Arabian plate was still part of the African plate. The Arab shield was already present, but the country today east adjacent was still under water. At that time was the Tethys Ocean between the African and the Eurasian plate. This ocean began 90 million years ago to close by intra- oceanic subduction and since about 50 million years ago ( Eocene ) to warp the former seabed. Here, the Arabian plate began to split and formed the Red Sea. About 20 million years ago ( Miocene ) began the conversion of the Tethys to an ever flatter strait. About 15 million years ago first islands which constantly increased in number and size, and then eventually form a land bridge between Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. When the Mediterranean dried up about 5 million years during the Messinian Salinity Crisis, a land link was clearly present. For these once flat landscapes large fold mountains are popular today, there are, for example, the Zagros Mountains since the Pliocene.