Earthquakes where plates collide

  • Exhibition Text

    • Subduction zones are places where two of the Earth’s plates collide, with one descending beneath the other. Many earthquakes occur along these zones, usually near the top of the descending plate, where it meets the overlying mantle. This narrow region is known as the Benioff zone, after the seismologist who discovered it. Subduction-zone earthquakes are among the largest observed. They also occur at the greatest depths, sometimes as deep as 700 kilometers below the Earth’s surface.

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  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Science

      Subtopic: Earthquakes

      Keywords: Subduction zones, Geology, Earthquakes

      Audience: General

In This Section

The Aleutian subduction zone

The Aleutian subduction zone

The Aleutian Trench, extending 2,900 kilometers from the Gulf of Alaska to Kamchatka, marks the place where the Pacific plate is being subducted beneath the North American plate.