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The South American arc extends over 7,000 km, from the Chilean triple junction offshore of southern Chile to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their decent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 mm/yr in the south to approximately 70mm/yr in the north.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Seismicity of the Earth 1900-2007, Nazca Plate and South America