Somali Plate

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Somali Plate
The Somali Plate
Approximate area16,700,000 km2[1]
FeaturesEast Africa, Madagascar, Indian Ocean
1Relative to the African Plate

The Somali Plate, or Somalian Plate, is a minor tectonic plate, which straddles the equator in the eastern hemisphere. It is approximately centered on the island of Madagascar and includes about half of the East coast of Africa, from the Gulf of Aden in the North to somewhere near Durban in the South.


The Somali Plate bounded by the African (Nubian) Plate, Arabian Plate and Indian Plate.

The Somali Plate formed between 60 million years ago and 10 million years ago by the rifting of the African Plate along the East African Rift.[2] Because the East Africa Rift separates the continent into two plates, the African Plate west of the rift is sometimes referred to as the Nubian Plate.[3]

The Somali Plate is bounded on the west by the East African Rift, which stretches south from the triple junction in the Afar depression, with an undersea continuation of the rift extending southward offshore. The northern boundary is the Aden Ridge along the coast of Saudi Arabia. The eastern boundary is the Central Indian Ridge, the northern portion of which is also known as the Carlsberg Ridge. The southern boundary is the Southwest Indian Ridge. Dating of volcanism in the Comoro Islands and northern Madagascar volcanoes indicates a rate of motion to the east over a hotspot of approximately 45 mm/yr.


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  3. Chu, Dezhi; Gordon, Richard G. (4 March 1999). "Evidence for motion between Nubia and Somalia along the Southwest Indian ridge". Nature 398 (6722): 64–67. Bibcode 1999Natur.398...64C. doi:10.1038/18014.


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