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Subduction zone

Subduction zone

E350/0084

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Credit

DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Subduction zone, artwork. A subduction zone is a region where two tectonic plates meet, and one slides under the other (arrows). This causes the formation of an oceanic trench. Friction between the descending plate and the other plate heats the rock, and molten rock may rise to the surface, forming a volcano. Subduction zones are highly geologically active regions, with many volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. The subduction of the Pacific plate under the Eurasian and Philippine plates is responsible for the western part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, for instance.

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