The African plate is one of the largest continental plates (also known as "tectonic plates") on earth. It covers the entire African continent as well as part of the surrounding seas, which are located on oceanic crust.
The African Plate is bordered by the Eurasian Plate , the Apulian Plate , the Hellenic Plate , the Anatolian Plate , the Arabian Plate , the Indian Plate , the Australian Plate , the Antarctic Plate , the South and the Antarctic Plate - clockwise from the north North American plate . There may be a few other smaller plates in the transition zones to the large neighboring plates; its existence has not yet been clarified beyond doubt. 60 million years ago, the Apulian plate was welded to the European continent in the north, and the Adriatic spur was the main cause of the unfolding of the Alps . From then on there was a ramified system of a converging plate boundary between the Apulian plate and Africa , which runs partly on the continent and partly on the offshore oceanic crust.
The African plate has a huge fracture system in its eastern part; A new structural plate boundary could emerge along the Great African Rift Valley. Which split off eastern part is usually as Somali plate or Somali plate referred.
To the west of the Somali plate is the Nubian plate. Further small fragments, so-called microplates , are postulated between these two large lithospheric plates . This assumption is based on GPS measurements , which indicate different absolute movements of different measuring points. Zones with stronger earthquake activity are assumed to be the boundary between the individual plates. The Viktoriaplatte would therefore lie between the western and the eastern branches of the East African rift system , and the Rowumaplatte to the south of it . According to a study, the north of Madagascar could partially lie on the future Somali plate , while the southern area could be assigned to one of the microplates called Lwandle plate .
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