Earthquakes where plates collide

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

Earthquakes Where Plates Collide AMNH/R.Mickens

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.