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We review both present and past motions at major plate boundaries, which have the horizontal component in average 10 to 100 times faster (10-100 mm/yr) than the vertical component (0.01-1 mm/yr) in all geodynamic settings. The steady faster horizontal velocity of the lithosphere with respect to the upward or downward velocities at plate 5 boundaries supports dominating tangential forces acting on plates. This suggests a passive role of plate boundaries with respect to far field forcesdoi:10.5194/eed-1-63-2006 fatcat:pch36ssrw5chjialbonqhgf3qm