Malpelo Plate

The Malpelo Plate is a small tectonic plate (a microplate) located off the coasts west of Ecuador and Colombia and south of Panama. The team of Researchers led by Rice geophysicist Richard Gordon named for an island and an underwater ridge it contains is the 57th plate to be discovered.

Malpelo microplate is located west of the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. It is wedged in-between the Nazca, Cocos, and Caribbean minor plate. It is linked to a nearby oceanic ridge along the Ring of Fire.

Earlier it was that assumed most of the region east of the known Panama transform fault was a part of Nazca plate. But recent study showed that it is different tectonic plate moving independently in a different direction. Evidence for the Malpelo plate came with the researchers’ identification of a diffuse plate boundary that runs from the Panama Transform Fault eastward to where it intersects a deep oceanic trench just offshore of Ecuador and Colombia.

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