The Nazca and South American Plate The Nazca Plate is a destructive plate boundary. A destructive plate boundary (also known as a convergent or tensional plate boundary) is when two plates (the oceanic and continental) are moving towards the other. Convection currents in the mantle move towards each other and this enables the plates to push against each other. The oceanic plate is subducted under the lighter continental plate, forming a deep trench in the sea. The oceanic plate, then melts and because there is not enough space for it underground, earthquakes occur. Magma then rises. The Nazca Plate is a small oceanic plate off the coast of South America. It produced the largest earthquake ever recorded. On May 22nd 1960, an earthquake was 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale. A more recent even would be on February 27th 2010, an earthquake in Chile was an 8.8 moment magnitude earthquake. Both of these were due to the subduction of the Nazca Plate underneath the South American Plate. It is also one of the fastest of any tectonic plates- it moves 3.7cm east each year and has 3 different plates come together. Even landforms were created because of this destructive boundary. For instance, the Andes Mountains have formed on the continental side of the subduction zone that lies between Nazca Plate and the South American Plate. A few trenches and some volcanos (e.g. the Cerro Azul, the Villarrica etc.) have been discovered there, too. The boundary is also part of The Ring of Fire (a place where many volcanos and earthquakes are.