Nazca Plate creates deadly earthquakes

small oceanic plate

The Nazca Plate is a small oceanic plate off the coast of South America. It has five triple junctions where three different plates come together. It also produced the largest earthquake ever recorded by seismographs in 1960.

Nazca Plate surrounded by other tectonic plates 

Nazca Plate movement

Formation Andes Mountains
The Andes Mountains have formed on the continental side of the subduction zone that lies between Nazca crustal plate and the South American Plate. The Peru-Chile Trench separates the two plates.

Eastward motion of Nazca crustal plate
The absolute eastward motion of the Nazca crustal plate is one of the fastest of any tectonic plate on Earth. The absolute motion is 3.7 cm/yr eastward.

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Large earthquakes and tsunamis

Two large earthquakes recent past
Massive earthquakes have occurred due to the subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American Plate.

  • The May 22, 1960 earthquake near Valdivia was 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale.
  • The February 27, 2010 earthquake in the Maule Region of Chile was an 8.8 moment magnitude earthquake.

Earthquake 300 km deep

Bolivia earthquake
Bolivia, which is inland from the subduction zone, experienced a 8.2 earthquake on June 9,1994. The earthquake epicenter was in a remote region of the Amazon forest at a depth of 647 km. This is the largest earthquake ever recorded at the depth of over 300 km and was due to the subduction of the plate.


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