What Are the Eight Minor Plates?

The earth’s surface is divided up into seven major and eight minor tectonic plates. The minor plates consist of the Caribbean plate, the Arabian plate, the Juan de Fuca plate, the Nazca plate, the Scotia plate, the Philippine plate, the Cocos plate and the Indian plate. Due to its size and the significant amount of land on it, some scientists consider the Indian a major plate instead.

The Arabian plate is the second largest of the minor plates, and it is the only other one besides the Indian plate that contains any significant amount of land. The other minor plates are primarily located over oceans or seas, such as the Juan de Fuca plate, which is the smallest of all the plates, and is located off the northwest coast of North America.

The seven major tectonic plates contain the majority of land on the planet, with each plate basically having an entire continent located on it. The only exception is the Pacific plate, which mainly contains the Pacific Ocean and its small island chains. In addition to the Pacific plate, the other six major plates are the North American plate, the Eurasian plate, the African plate, the South American plate, the Indo-Australian plate and the Antarctic plate.