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SAINT THOMAS PRODUCTIONS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SAINT THOMAS PRODUCTIONS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animation showing the location of the Nazca Plate, a small tectonic plate in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of South America. The Nazca Plate is moving eastwards, meeting the westward-moving South American Plate just offshore, forming the undersea Peru-Chile Trench, or Atacama Trench. The denser oceanic Nazca Plate is subducting under the South American Plate, forcing the leading edge of the Nazca Plate to move under the South American Plate. This process is responsible for the creation of the Andes Mountains, along with volcanoes and earthquakes.
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