They flow in the solid state as new crust is formed from liquid magma rising along spreading centers; the new rock that is formed pushes the two adjacent plates apart. The plates do not float on liquid magma; the movement at depth can be nearly plastic, but is basically solid, not liquid. When crustal plates of different density (typically dense oceanic and less dense continental crust) meet each other, the denser one usually descends beneath the less dense one in a process called subduction. There is some thought that the descending plate contributes to overall plate motion essentially by pulling the rest of the plate along as it descends.
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The proper term is for plate movement is “plate tectonics”. Key points of plate tectonics are:
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