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What is the definition of plate boundaries?

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Quick Answer

Plate boundaries are locations where two tectonic plates meet. There are three different types of plate boundaries, which are defined by the type of motion occurring at the boundary. Some boundaries are located within continents of land, while others are located under oceans.

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What is the definition of plate boundaries?
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Full Answer

The first type of plate boundary is called a convergent boundary. At this type of boundary, two plates are moving towards one another. Examples of convergent boundaries include the boundary between the Eurasian and Indian plates in the Himalayan Mountains and the boundary between the Nacza and American plates in South America. Because of the convergent motion at this type of plate boundary, mountain ranges are generally found in these regions.

A second type of plate boundary is called a divergent boundary, and is a site where two plates are moving away from one another. Examples include the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a "crack" in the Atlantic Ocean where molten rock leeches upward, and the boundary between the African and Arabian Plates in the Red Sea.

The third type of plate boundary is called a transform boundary. Here, two plates are sliding past one another. An example of a transform boundary is the border between the Pacific and Australian Plates, which is found in New Zealand. The sliding motion of plates at this and other transform boundaries often causes shallow earthquakes.

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