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Subduction

Subduction is the process whereby a ground plate with oceanic crust slides under another plate. Oceanic crust is heavier than continental crust. Therefore oceanic crust dives under the continental crust, or under lighter oceanic crust.

An example of an area where subduction occurs now is the west coasts of North and South America under which subduction of oceanic crust occurs from the Nazca plate and the Pacific plate.

Subduction is accompanied by enormous forces. This can cause powerful earthquakes because the subduction usually occurs in phases, rather than gradually. At the spot where subduction takes place deep oceanic trenches may form whichcan be kilometers deep.

The sediment that lies on the subducting plate is watery and caused volcanism after subduction at about 100 to 200 kilometers from the plate boundary on the top plate. At sea volcanic island arcs can occur. On land a rows of volcanoes is formed. The eruptions at subduction zones are usually quite explosively causing the forming of strato volcanoes.


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