What Are the Two Types of Tectonic Plates?


Continental and oceanic are the two types of tectonic plates. Continental plates tend to be larger than oceanic and bear the majority of a continent's mass. Continental plates tend to be much thicker on average, but less dense.

Tectonic plates are enormous sections of rock that make up the Earth's crust. They are propelled over the surface of the planet during millions of years by currents of magma far below. Oceanic plates are thinner and denser than continental plates as the enormous weight of the oceans compress them into smaller volumes. Continental plates contain large masses of rock that project above ocean level and suffer less from this compression effect.