Antarctic Plate

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Antarctic Plate
The Antarctic Plate
Type Major
Approx. Area 60,900,000 km2 (23,500,000 sq mi)[1]
Movement1 north-west
Speed1 12–14 mm (0.47–0.55 in)/year
Features Antarctica, Southern Ocean
1Relative to the African Plate

The Antarctic Plate is a tectonic plate containing the continent of Antarctica and extending outward under the surrounding oceans. After breakup from Gondwana (the southern part of the supercontinent Pangea), the Antarctic plate began moving the continent of Antarctica south to its present isolated location causing the continent to develop a much colder climate.[2] The Antarctic Plate is bounded almost entirely by extensional mid-ocean ridge systems. The adjoining plates are the Nazca Plate, the South American Plate, the African Plate, the Indo-Australian Plate, the Pacific Plate, and, across a transform boundary, the Scotia Plate.

The Antarctic plate has an area of about 60,900,000 km2 (23,500,000 sq mi).[3] It is the Earth's fifth largest plate.

The Antarctic plate's movement is estimated to be at least 1 cm (0.4 in) per year towards the Atlantic Ocean.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Sizes of Tectonic or Lithospheric Plates". March 5, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  2. ^ Fitzgerald, Paul (2002). "Tectonics and landscape evolution of the Antarctic plate since the breakup of Gondwana, with an emphasis on the West Antarctic Rift System and the Transantarctic Mountains" (PDF). Royal Society of New Zealand Bulletin (35): 453–469. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  3. ^ Wohletz, K.H.; Brown, W.K. "SFT and the Earth's Tectonic Plates". Los Alamos National Laboratory. Archived from the original on February 17, 2013.