Plates of the Earth

Plates of the Earth

Division of the Earth's surface into a mosaic of moving plates, according to plate tectonic theory. Boundaries between the plates are actively spreading submarine ridges in the middle of the oceans, subduction zones in ocean trenches or mountain ranges on the continents, or margins where the plates slide past one another. Most of the world's earthquakes occur at plate boundaries.

PDF file - color (4.5M)
PDF file - gray (1.1M)

Data Sources:
Plate boundaries - Smithsonian Institution Volcano Program (both)
Ocean and international boundaries - ESRI (majplategray.pdf only)
Global cloud-free image - ESRI and WorldSat International, Inc. (majplatecolor.pdf only)