Type of Rock Found in Divergent Boundaries

Divergent plate boundaries build new rock by letting magma bubble through the crust.
••• Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Divergent plate boundaries, caused by the shifting of the Earth's tectonic plates, create igneous rocks as the plates move. The rocks are formed by cooling magma, and their specific type depends on the minerals available in the area.

What are Divergent Boundaries?

DIvergent plate boundaries are areas in the Earth's crust where two of the tectonic plates are moving away from each other. This motion opens deep cracks in the crust, allowing magma to seep through and rise to the surface. This magma leakage creates types of rock that are common at divergent boundaries, but relatively rare elsewhere.

Type of Rock

The main type of rock found at divergent plate boundaries is igneous. These rocks are formed when magma cools and becomes solid, either above or below ground. They are rich in elements including silicon, aluminium, sodium, potassium, calcium and iron, and make up about 95 percent of the upper part of the Earth's crust. More than 700 types of igneous rock have been identified.

Specific Rocks

Most rocks formed at divergent boundaries are categorized as malefic igneous rocks, which are dark-colored due to their high magnesium and iron content. This category includes basalt, gabbro and peridotites, which are often found at these boundaries.


Divergent plate boundaries are usually found at mid-ocean ridges, such as those in the Gulf of California and in the mid-Atlantic Ridge. There is also a divergent boundary in the East African rift zone and one in the Dead Sea rift valley, on land.

Related Articles

What Landforms Are Formed at a Transform Boundary?
Three Types of Boundaries Between Lithospheric Plates
How Does Pressure Affect Plate Tectonics?
Types of Intrusive Igneous Rock With Large Crystals
Interesting Facts About Quartzite
What Factors Cause Mechanical Weathering?
Types of Rocks Found in the Himalayas
What Are Four Major Landforms?
Four Types of Boundaries Between Tectonic Plates
Where Are Bogs Located?
What Is the Composition of a Lava Rock?
How Does Plate Tectonics Affect the Rock Cycle?
About Minor & Major Landforms
What Is a Tectonic Earthquake?
What Is Shearing in Geology?
What Type of Plate Boundary Is the Aleutian Trench?
What Are Some Examples of a Coastal Plain?
Three Ways to Melt a Rock
The Difference Between an Earthquake & a Volcano
Three Types of Stress on the Earth's Crust