List of tectonic plate interactions

Three types of plate boundary.
Transform boundary
Divergent boundary
Convergent boundary

Tectonic plate interactions are of three different basic types:[1]

  • Divergent boundaries are areas where plates move away from each other, forming either mid-oceanic ridges or rift valleys. These are also known as constructive boundaries.
  • Convergent boundaries are areas where plates move toward each other and collide. These are also known as compressional or destructive boundaries.
    • Subduction zones occur where an oceanic plate meets a continental plate and is pushed underneath it. Subduction zones are marked by oceanic trenches. The descending end of the oceanic plate melts and creates pressure in the mantle, causing volcanoes to form.
    • Obduction occurs when the continental plate is pushed under the oceanic plate, but this is unusual as the relative densities of the tectonic plates favours subduction of the oceanic plate. This causes the oceanic plate to buckle and usually results in a new mid ocean ridge forming and turning the obduction into subduction[citation needed]
    • Orogenic belts occur where two continental plates collide and push upwards to form large mountain ranges. These are also known as collision boundaries.
  • Transform boundaries occur when two plates grind past each other with only limited convergent or divergent activity.

Divergent boundariesEdit

Plate tectonics map

Convergent boundaries (subduction zone)Edit

Orogenic beltsEdit

Transform boundariesEdit

See alsoEdit

  • Triple junction – The point where the boundaries of three tectonic plates meet


  1. ^ "Tectonic Plates and Plate Boundaries". GNS Science. Retrieved 2014-09-12.