NOAA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NOAA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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East Pacific Rise, topographical map. Elevation is colour-coded. On land, low-lying areas are green, with yellow, orange and red showing increasing elevation. The Andes mountains in western South America are seen down right. In the oceans, shallow continental shelf is turquoise, with deeper blues indicating deeper water. The East Pacific Rise (centre, pale blue) is a region of relatively shallow water where tectonic plates are moving apart, bringing magma to the seafloor as the tectonic plates spread outwards. The eastward- moving Nazca Plate collides and is forced under the westward-moving South American Plate, forming the deep Peru-Chile (or Atacama) Trench (purple).
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