Indo-Australian Plate

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  The Indo-Australian plate, shown as divided between the Indian Plate and the Australian Plate

The Indo-Australian Plate was a major tectonic plate that included the continent of Australia and surrounding ocean, and extended northwest to include the Indian subcontinent and adjacent waters. It was formed by the fusion of Indian and Australian plates 43 million years ago.[1] Recent studies, and seismic events such as the 2012 Indian Ocean earthquake, suggest that the Indo-Australian Plate has broken up into two or three separate plates due primarily to stresses induced by the collision of the Indo-Australian Plate with Eurasia along the Himalayas.,[2][3] and that the Indian Plate and Australian Plate have been separate since at least 3 million years ago.[4]

The eastern part (Australia) is moving northward at the rate of 5.6 cm per year while the western part (India) is moving only at the rate of 3.7 cm per year due to the impediment of the Himalayas. This differential movement has resulted in the compression of the former plate near its center at Sumatra and the division into the Indian and Australian Plates.[5][6][7]

A third plate, known as the Capricorn Plate, may also be separating off of the western side of the Indian plate as part of the continued breakup of the Indo-Australian Plate.[8]

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