Why does a subduction occur?

Plate subduction occurs when two tectonic plates converge and at least one of them is an oceanic plate. Oceanic plates are formed at divergent plate boundaries from dense basaltic magma. This magma originates from the mantle beneath and fills the gap between the spreading plates.
A.

What is subduction and where does it occur?

Subduction is a geological process that takes place at convergent boundaries of tectonic plates where one plate moves under another and is forced or sinks due to gravity into the mantle. Regions where this process occurs are known as subduction zones.
  • Which type of boundaries can produce volcanoes?

    Plates move away from one another at divergent boundaries. This happens at mid-ocean ridges. Plates move towards one another at convergent boundaries; one plate is forced below another in a process called subduction. Earthquakes and composite volcanoes are common at this type of boundary.
  • How does a volcano form at a subduction zone?

    Subduction zone volcanism occurs where two plates are converging on one another. One plate containing oceanic lithosphere descends beneath the adjacent plate, thus consuming the oceanic lithosphere into the earth's mantle. This on-going process is called subduction.
  • Where do most of the world's earthquakes occur?

    Earthquakes occur all the time all over the world, both along plate edges and along faults. Most earthquakes occur along the edge of the oceanic and continental plates. The earth's crust (the outer layer of the planet) is made up of several pieces, called plates.
B.

Where would you find a subduction zone?

Subduction zones circle the Pacific Ocean, forming the Ring of Fire. A subduction zone is the biggest crash scene on Earth. These boundaries mark the collision between two of the planet's tectonic plates. The plates are pieces of crust that slowly move across the planet's surface over millions of years.
  • Where can you find a divergent boundary?

    Visit the Interactive Plate Boundary Map to explore satellite images of divergent boundaries between oceanic plates. Two locations are marked: 1) the Mid-Atlantic Ridge exposed above sea level on the island of Iceland, and 2) the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between North America and Africa.
  • How does subduction happen?

    Plate subduction occurs when two tectonic plates converge and at least one of them is an oceanic plate. Oceanic plates are formed at divergent plate boundaries from dense basaltic magma. This magma originates from the mantle beneath and fills the gap between the spreading plates.
  • What is formed in a subduction zone?

    Subduction Zones. Where two tectonic plates converge, if one or both of the plates is oceanic lithosphere, a subduction zone will form. An oceanic plate will sink back into the mantle. Remember, oceanic plates are formed from mantle material at midocean ridges.
C.

What is an example of a subduction zone?

An oceanic plate can descend beneath another oceanic plate - Japan, Indonesia, and the Aleutian Islands are examples of this type of subduction. Alternately, an oceanic plate can descend beneath a continental plate - South America, Central America, and the Cascade Volcanoes are an example of this type of subduction.
  • What does subduction do?

    Subduction is a geological process that takes place at convergent boundaries of tectonic plates where one plate moves under another and is forced or sinks due to gravity into the mantle. Regions where this process occurs are known as subduction zones.
  • What are the different types of subduction?

    There are 2 main types of subduction zones: Oceanic-oceanic plate boundaries: If the subducting plate subducts beneath an adjacent oceanic plate, an island arc is formed. Examples include the Aleutians, the Kuriles, Japan, and the Philippines, all located at the northern and western borders of the Pacific plate.
  • What type of volcano is found at a subduction zone?

    Shield volcanoes usually form above a hot spot in the ocean floor. The magma that feeds these volcanoes is from the upper mantle. Composite volcanoes (stratovolcanoes) form in subduction zones where an oceanic plates subducts beneath a continental plate. They form towering volcanoes like Mount Rainier in Washington.

Updated: 20th September 2018

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