How fast do the earths plates move?



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    The theory that the Earth’s continental plates move is called Plate Tectonics, and was developed in the 1960’s.

    The plates move at a speed that has been studied to be 1 to 10 centimeters a year. This is about the speed at which your fingernails grow!

    Here are some estimates of each tectonic plate and the speed at which they grow:

    Plate Absolute Velocity (cm/yr)*
    Antarctic ~2.05
    African ~2.15
    Arabian ~4.65
    Caribbean ~2.45
    Cocos ~8.55
    Eurasian ~0.95
    Indian ~6.00
    Nazca ~7.55
    North American ~1.15
    Pacific ~8.10
    Philippine ~6.35
    South American ~1.45

    Source of chart:

    Most seismic activity happens at the plates’ boundaries when there is movement between them (ex. volcano eruptions).

    There are different types of plate movements: separating from one another, colliding into one another, slipping past one another, and slipping laterally.

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