Rotating, growing microplates are observed in a wax analogue model of sea-floor spreading. Wax microplates are kinematically similar to sea-floor tectonic microplates in terms of spreading rate and growth rate. Furthermore, their spiral pseudofault geometry is quantitatively consistent with Schouten's oceanic microplate model. These results suggest that Schouten's edge-driven microplate model captures the kinematics of tectonic microplate evolution on Earth. Based on the wax observations, a theory for the nucleation of overlapping spreading centres, the precursors of tectonic microplates, is developed.
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