Much of the western Pacific is shaken by a clash of tectonic plates (when one section of the earth’s drifting surface collides head on with another, used to be called the continental drift).
- North and Central Pacific rests on the Pacific Plate
- New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and New Caledonia sit on the Indo-Australian Plate
- The west edge of the Pacific Plate runs northeast from New Zealand up the east side of Tonga to Samoa.
- North of New Guinea, the Pacific Plate faces the Eurasian Plate
- The dividing line between the Pacific Plate and the western plate, known as the Andesite Line, is part of the Ring of Fire, while much of the land west of the line remains submerged by Australia.
Cite: Stanley, D., South Pacific Handbook.