Talk:List of tectonic plates

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Now here's a sensible list. There are two kinds of useful list. one is a complete list like this one. The other is a selective list. Wetman 19:27, 19 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Australian / Indian plates[edit]

I have redirected Australian Plate and Indian Plate to Indo-Australian Plate. I haven't changed pages linking to these two pages as yet, in case someone wants to write separate pages - I thought I would leave it to someone who knows what they are talking about! But in the meantime at least the reader will find the most relevant information on wikipedia, rather than a blank page. -- Chuq 03:51, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Probably a good idea. Some literature refers to the plates separately, whereas, other literature refers to them as combined. Looking at the earthquake distribution map shows an extremely weak separation and thus an explanation. I see that the map has been resized downward which I can understand, however, this substantially reduces the visability of the connection between the earthquake distribution and the plate boundaries. I realize the map can be blown up by clicking on it but it's having the earthquake map and the plate map side by side that provides the real picture. Perhaps, a better visualization could be obtained by enlarging the earthquake map somewhat and placing both maps side by side at the bottom of the page. It would also help if some clever person could make the maps align. The left boundary of the earthquake map is 180 degrees west longitude basically the International Date Line, whereas, the left boundary of the plate map is further to the west.


Hi. Both links to the reference (HTML/PDF) do not work. Either the link has changed (and therefore needs fixing by whoever can find it) or they took it off. --Thogo (Talk) 22:54, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Ok, found it myself and fixed it. --Thogo (Talk) 06:31, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Confusing part[edit]

Can anyone (with enough knowledge of this topic) re-write the next phrase to make it more clear?

"There may or may not be scientific consensus as to whether a tertiary plate is a separate plate yet, is still a separate plate, or should be considered a separate plate, thus new research could change this list."

To me, "is a separate plate yet" and "is still a separate plate" are the same thing.George Rodney Maruri Game (talk) 02:17, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

No, it's not the same. The difference is if a plate is *already* or *still* a separate plate, so if it is in the state of birth or death, so to speak. ;) But you're right, the wording is not optimal... I'll guess of something better. What about "In some cases there is no scientific consensus as to whether or not a tertiary plate should be already or still considered a separate plate, thus new research could change this list." ? --Thogo (Talk) 17:35, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Thank you very much, Thogo! English is not my native language but I use quite a lot at work. So, I apologize if I am taking too much from your time. From your explanation I distinguish 3 situations:
"it is a separate plate yet" = it is the end of a separate plate, it is about to disappear
"it is still a separate plate" = it is the beginning of the formation of a separate plate
"it is a separate plate" = it is currently a stable separate plate
Please, correct me if my understanding is wrong. Thanks again! George Rodney Maruri Game (talk) 19:29, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Indian Plate, secondary or tertiary?[edit]

Is the Indian Plate a secondary or tertiary plate? It is certainly as big (and, in a number of cases, bigger) than some of the secondary plates. What is it that defines a plate as "secondary" or "tertiary"? ask123 (talk) 05:19, 30 January 2011 (UTC)


I came here looking for information about the areas of the tectonic plates. It seems like the sort of information that ought to appear in an encyclopedia article. Here's a source: Would it be a good addition? Ishboyfay (talk) 17:42, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

Major and minor definitions[edit]

The Indian Plate and the Somali Plate had somehow been left off this list, so I added them. But they didn't really fit into the (arbitrary) ranges for major and minor specified in the list. So I changed the list ranges: major plates are > 20,000,000 km2 and minor plates are between 20,000,000 km2 and 1,000,000 km2. (The rest are considered microplates on this list, and I haven't even looked at the past plates yet.) I'm hoping to review the literature and get an idea of the ways they're classified by geoscientists these days. But I have very limited access to substantial geoscience material; I'm hoping others will chime in here with what they've seen.— Gorthian (talk) 20:43, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

Our article certainly matches the range of numbers of major plates you can find in the literature. Our major plates list in the article gives 7 (or 8 if you split the Indian from the Australian), you can also find examples with 10, 14 and 15 (as in the USGS map also used in the article). Obviously the cut-off will be arbitrary, but we need to stick to one I think (suitably cited), while discussing the range. I would use the USGS major plates personally, although I know that some of these have much smaller areas than 20,000,000 km2. Mikenorton (talk) 20:31, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Examples of sources for each, some better than others -
7 [1]
8 [2]
10 [3]
12 [4]
14 based on De Mets 1990
15 "dozen or so", but shows 15
so pick a number. Mikenorton (talk) 21:52, 25 February 2016 (UTC)