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Definition of a subduction zone

The boundaries of a subduction zone exposes the area where tectonic plates collided with each other. These plates are large chunks of crust that tend to move around the course of the planet and this is how it has been for more than million years. Archaeologists claim that one of the tectonic plates bends whereas the other one stays the same when two tectonic plates collide. During the collision course, one of the plates gently slides beneath the other one and eventually submerges into the mantle which is a relatively hotter layer based under the crust.

Tectonic plates are capable of transporting oceanic as well as the continental crust, but there is always a high chance that they are made from the same type of crust. But if we tend to compare both, then we will know that the oceanic crust has been said to be much denser than that of continental crust. There is something called as the lighter continental crust and this is right above the mantle. The subduction zone is a point where the oceanic crust tends to sink into this lighter continental crust as a result of its density and this result in the formation of a new subduction zone as per scientists. But what happens when two plates of the same type of crust collide against each other?

Collision of tectonic plates of same crust

So what exactly is going to happen if two continents collide against each other? Since both continents will be of the same crust, hence there is a possibility that despite the plates crashing against each other, there is a possibility that a subduction zone might not be created and the two continents will simply crumble exactly like two cars crashing against each other at high speeds. This is said to be the phenomenon that gave rise to the Himalayas mountain range when the Indian Territory went into a collision course with Asia.

What is subduction zone and the reasons behind its formation are immensely debated and researched topics for college students. Even writing a generic essay will require lots of research to be done in order to get the facts right because there are multiple explanations regarding this topic. But going into the history of the formation of subduction zone would lead us to research that happened way back in the 1960s per which, scientists were able to identify the first of subduction zones. This happened as a result of being able to locate earthquakes beneath the descending crust. Presently, there are sophisticated devices that are capable of tracking the shifting of tectonic plates up to a close precision.

Sophisticated devices to analyse tectonic plates

In an interview by Vasily Titov, Director, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Tsunami Research Center based in Seattle, Washington, it was revealed that there are certain devices which allow scientists to generate pictures of how the tectonic plates move, and this is done with the help of GPS data. While writing on such topics for college assignments, students usually tend to seek help from dissertation editing services owing to the fact that these topics always require lots of research to be done.

The most number of subduction zones occur around the Pacific Ocean, somewhat offshore of Canada, Washington, Russia, Alaska, Indonesia and Japan. This is commonly referred to as the “Ring of Fire” as these zones have experienced some of the worst volcanic eruptions, terrible Tsunamis and massive earthquakes. As a result of shifting of tectonic plates, the world has seen many natural disasters that have literally ripped countries apart. The possibility of shifting of tectonic plates in the future on a magnitude equivalent to the one that created Himalayan mountain range is not likely in the future for at least a few centuries. But that does not rule out its possibility since a natural disaster can come at any point of time and cause devastation of a magnitude which might destroy continents.


The phenomenon of the collision course between two tectonic plates happens in a dramatic fashion. It is somewhat similar to rubbing two sheets of sandpaper together, only the difference being that instead of sandpapers, we are talking about two large slices of the crust of Earth rubbing against each other. At some places, the crust will stick and store energy which is released in the form of earthquakes. The size of a subduction zone is directly proportional to the magnitude of an earthquake that can occur in that region. Till date, the largest earthquake which has ever been recorded on devices was way back in 1960 when Chile was struck by an earthquake of magnitude 9.5 which ripped the whole nation apart. A close second would be the earthquake that hit Alaska in 1964 measuring 9.2 on Richter scale. Generally, subduction zones tend to be huge boundaries that are capable of triggering massive earthquakes.

Ever wondered what is subduction zone and why are these zones considered as the biggest earthquakes in the world? The primary reason for the same is the size of the subduction zone which can vary accordingly. The size of a particular earthquake will always depend on the size of the crater that causes it, and the faults of subduction zones are considered as the widest and the longest in the world. It is said that the Cascadia subduction zone which falls offshore of Washington is approximately 620 miles in length and 62 miles in width.

On the other hand, relatively smaller earthquakes also occur along the plate that is descending and it is also commonly referred to as a slab. Scientists are able to see the inner crust and mantle of the Earth as a result of the seismic ways from tremors. The quakes show that the slab which is sinking bends at a particular angle somewhere between 24 to 45 degrees approximately from the surface of the Earth. But some of the quakes are relatively flatter and tend to be steeper. At times, the slabs tend to tear in the similar way as a gash in a paper that is wrinkled. Also, there have been instances where pieces of the large plate that were sinking have eventually broken off and submerged deep into the mantle.

Some of the best college essays on this topic have specifically emphasized and agreed with the reason which we have stated in this essay.


Usually, subduction zones are based near to coastal areas, so this is one of the reasons why Tsunamis take place in areas which are near to water bodies. If earthquake takes place within a city, the whole city might be submerged depending on how powerful the earthquake is. Usually, when subduction zone quakes hit a city, the crust of Earth tends to act like a freed spring. In case if an earthquake has a magnitude above 7.5, this can cause a Tsunami just like the one in the Indian Ocean which affected parts of Asia and Africa. Since the seafloor is moved, this results in an immense pressure which goes upwards and causes large waves. But this does not apply in the case of all subduction zone earthquakes. Many a times, underwater landslides become the main reason for Tsunamis.

Usually, Tsunami threats are monitored by governmental agencies especially in the areas around the Pacific Ocean. If an earthquake has taken place now, there is a possibility that it will immediately give rise to a Tsunami or it can happen after a few hours as it will take the waves some time to travel to shore. Lots of book reviews on Tsunami and other natural disasters give a detailed description of how these disasters take place and the scientific reason backing them.


Once the tectonic plate shifts towards the mantle, there are certain fluids that are trapped beneath the Earth’s crust that is released because of the pressure. These fluids consisting of carbon dioxide and seawater tend to rise towards the upper plate and have the capability to melt the crust partially, hence resulting in the formation of magma. Often, molten forms of rocks are termed as volcanoes. Upon studying the “Ring of Fire”, one would understand the relation between volcanoes and subduction zones. Towards the inland part of a subduction zone, one would notice a series of volcanoes spouting and this is termed as a volcanic arc. The Aleutian Islands in Alaska are an example of volcanic arcs and the Toba eruption in Indonesia is considered as the largest volcanic eruption that took place in the last 25 million years. This, being the deadliest volcanoes in the history of mankind, was the result of a subduction zone as claimed by scientists.

There is a lot of scope for research in this field and many creative writing service providers specialize in such topics owing to the fact that these are usually tough to comprehend and even if you have all the facts you with, yet representing those facts in an appropriate manner is something which these service providers excel in.

Understanding what is subduction zone is immensely important for someone who would like to understand how natural disasters take place and how have they been researched for the past few centuries. This is a widely chosen topic amongst college students since there are lots of points which can be covered and explained while discussing subduction zones.



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