Fabio Crameri
A schematic highlighting Ocean-plate tectonics: ocean-plate formation, cooling and destruction as part of the planet's global mantle convection.

' Ocean-Plate Tectonics '

is a mode of mantle convection characterised by the autonomous relative movement of multiple discrete, mostly rigid, portions of oceanic plates at the surface, driven and maintained principally by subducted parts of these same plates that are sinking gravitationally back into Earth’s interior and deforming the mantle interior in the process. - Crameri et al. (2019)

It is distinguished from:

  • ' Plate Tectonics '
    is the horizontal relative movement of several discrete and mostly-rigid surface-plate segments (Hess, 1962).

  • ' Continental Drift '
    is the horizontal relative movement of discrete continental plates (Wegener, 1912).