State PCS

Edit Template
Edit Template

Tectonic plates and Rifting

Tectonic plates and Rifting, Recent studies show that Africa’s splitting plates could give birth to a new ocean, but with consequences

Context:  Recent studies show that Africa’s splitting plates could give birth to a new ocean, but with consequences.

  • It explains how major landforms on earth were created as a result of Earth’s subterranean movement.
  • A tectonic plate or a lithospheric plate is a massive, irregularly shaped slab of solid rock, generally composed of both continental and oceanic lithosphere.
  • Tectonic plates are sometimes subdivided into three categories: major (or primary) plates, minor (or secondary) plates, and microplates (or tertiary plates).

Major plates of Earth:-

  • African Plate     
  • Antarctic Plate 
  • Eurasian Plate  
  • Indo-Australian plate
  • North American Plate   
  • Pacific Plate
  • South American Plate

Minor Plates of the Earth:-

  • Cocos plate: Between Central America and the Pacific plate
  • Nazca plate: Between South America and the Pacific plate
  • Arabian plate: Mostly the Saudi Arabian landmass
  • Philippine plate: Between the Asiatic and Pacific plate
  • Caroline plate: Between the Philippine and Indian plates (North of New Guinea)
  • Fuji plate: North-east of Australia
  • Juan De Fuca’s plate

About Rifting:-

  • Major geomorphological features such as fold and block mountains, mid-oceanic ridges, trenches, volcanism, earthquakes etc. are a direct consequence of the interaction between various Tectonic Plates (lithospheric plates).
  • There are three ways in which the plates interact with each other.


  • In this kind of interaction, the plates diverge (move away from each other).
  • Mid-ocean ridges (e.g. the Mid-Atlantic Ridge) are formed due to this kind of interaction.
  • Here, the basaltic magma erupts and moves apart (seafloor spreading).
  • Example: The divergence of African and Somali plates forms the most important geomorphological feature, the East African Rift Valley, on continents.


  • In this kind of interaction, two lithospheric plates collide with each other.
  • The zone of collision may undergo crumpling and folding, and folded mountains may emerge (orogenic collision).
  • Himalayan Boundary Fault is one such example.
  • When one of the plates is an oceanic plate, it gets embedded in the softer asthenosphere of the continental plate, and as a result, trenches are formed at the zone of subduction.

Transcurrent Edge:-

  • In this kind of interaction, two plates slide past each other.
  • There is no creation or destruction of the landform but only the deformation of the existing landform.
  • In oceans, transform faults are the planes of separation generally perpendicular to the mid-oceanic ridges.
  • Example: San Andreas Fault (Silicon Valley lies dangerously close to the faultline) along the western coast of the USA Tectonic plates d Rifting.

Read more:

Demo Class/Enquiries

blog form

More Links
What's New
IAS NEXT is a topmost Coaching Institute offering guidance for Civil & Judicial services like UPSC, State PCS, PCS-J exams since more than 10 years.
Contact Us
Social Icon

Copyright ©  C S NEXT EDUCATION. All Rights Reserved