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Assignment

NAME: SUBJECT: TOPIC: INSTITUTE: MUHAMMAD ALI GLOBALE TECTONIC SUBDUCTION ZONE BAHRIA UNIVERSITY (KARACHI CAMPUS)

Subduction Zones
When two tectonic plates converge often one will get buried or subducted beneath the other. The plate boundary regions where this occurs are called subduction zones. There are two types of lithosphere, oceanic and continental, so there are three possibilities at a convergent boundary: 1) oceanic and oceanic 2) oceanic and continental 3) continental and continental In which of these cases can subduction occur ? Subduction zones only occur at convergent boundaries between oceans and continents, and oceans and oceans When oceanic lithosphere converges with continental lithosphere it is the oceanic material that is always subducted beneath the continental material. When the convergent boundary is between two oceans it the older (heavier) plate which usually subducts. Examples of an oceanic lithosphere subducting beneath a continental lithosphere: 1) South America subduction zone: Nazca plate (oceanic) subducting beneath South American plate (continental) 2) Aleutian subduction zone: Pacific plate (oceanic) subducting beneath North American plate (continental) in Alaska Examples of oceanic lithosphere subducting beneath oceanic lithosphere of another plate: 1) Marianas subduction zone: Pacific plate subducting beneath Phillipine Sea plate in western Pacific 2) Tonga subduction zone: Pacific plate subducting beneath Australian plate in western Pacific. General Picture of Subduction

General Picture of Ocean-Ocean Convergence

General Picture of Ocean-Continent Subduction

MORE ON SUBDUCTION ZONES:


Slab of lithosphere descends back into the mantle at a deep ocean trench. Earthquakes trace the descent of the slab into the mantle (Benioff Zone). Earthquakes can be detected to a depth of 600 km .

SUBDUCTION ZONES FEATURES:


1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) DEEP OCEAN TRENCH VOLCANIC ARC WADATI-BENIOFF ZONE ACCRETIONARY WEDGE (PRISM) FOREARC BASIN BACKARC EXTENSION OR COMPRESSION.

DEEP OCEAN TRENCH:


An oceanic trench is a narrow, deep trough parallel to the edge of a continent or an island arc Deepest parts of the oceans Benioff zone earthquake foci begin at trenches and dip landward under continents or island arcs Volcanoes found above upper part of Benioff zone arranged in long belts parallel to trenches Marked by very low heat flow and large negative gravity anomalies

OUTER TRENCH HIGH (OR OUTER BULGE):


Due to flexure of the subducting plate 100-200 km from trench several hundred meters high.

VOLCANIC ISLAND ARC:


Where oceanic crust is subducted beneath oceanic crust, melting of the slab produces volcanic island arcs.

THE ACCRETIONARY PRISM:


Sediment eroded from the orogenic belt accumulates in the trench and is intensely deformed as the plates converge. Like the wedge of earth ahead of a bulldozer, the sediment thickens until it is capable of resisting further deformation.

FOREARC BASINS:
the low-lying region between the volcanic arc and the accretionary wedge into which sediments, mostly from the arc, are deposited.

BACKARC BASINS:
back-arc basin, submarine basin that forms behind an island arc. Such basins are typically found along the western margin of the Pacific Ocean near the convergence of two tectonic plates. A back -arc basin is formed by the process of back -arc spreading, which begins when one tectonic plate subducts under (underthrusts) another. Subduction creates a trench between the two plates and melts the mantle in the overlying plate, which causes magma to rise toward the surface. Rising magma increases the pressure at the top o f the overlying plate that creates rifts in the crust above and causes the volcanoes on the island arc to erupt.

Metamorphic Zones:
One of the best indicators of former subduction is the presence of paired metamorphic belts, a belt of typical Greenschist and Amphibolite metamorphism flanked by a belt of Blueschist metamorphism.

Greenschist-Amphibolite Metamorphism:
The rising magma from the descending plate heats the crust, resulting in greenschist and amphibolite metamorphism in the igneous arc. At very high temperatures, rocks become very dehydrated; even muscovite mica breaks down to potassium feldspar and amphibole to pyroxene. This sort of metamorphism, called granulite metamorphism, occurs deep in the crust just about everywhere simply due to the normal geothermal gradient. At 25 degrees per kilometer, the temperature at the base of the crust, 40 kilometers deep, is 1000 degrees C. Of course, unusually intense heating can cause it to occur at shallower levels.

Blueschist Metamorphism:
At high pressures but low temperatures, rocks are metamorphosed to blueschist grade. The reason temperatures are abnormally low is that the descending slab is still cool and helps keep adjac.ent rocks cool as well.

Eclogite Metamorphism:
At about 100 kilometers depth, pyroxene, olivine and plagioclase recrystallize to a denser form to produce sodium -bearing pyroxene and garnet. The result is one of the most beautiful of rocks, eclogite, a mass of light green pyroxene enclosing pink garnets.

What role do subduction zones play in the recycling of Earth's crust?


At subduction zones, the cold oceanic crust gets subducted beneath another oceanic crust, or beneath a continental crust because it is more dense. The subducted crust originated from a constructive plate margin and over millions of years has formed and has moved along to a convergent plate margin to be subducted. This plate then subducts, and melts. Some of this material will rise up to the surface on the non -subducted plate to form a volcano. Over millions of years, the volcano will get eroded and weathered and the eroded material will be transported by rivers etc, into the sea and will be deposited on the sea bed. And this will be subducted again in the future... And that is how it gets recycled. It is important as it gives us a variety of habitats and ecosystems for animals of all kind to live in. The new oceanic crust and formation of ocean basins can give us seas, to transport people and material in boats, and can provide us, our seafood etc. The volcanoes formed, fertilise soils when the ash falls on the land etc.

IMPORTANCE OF SUBDUCTION ZONE:


Subduction zones are important for several reasons: Subduction Zone Physics: Sinking of the oceanic lithosphere (sediments + crust + mantle), by contrast of density between the cold and old lithosphere and the hot asthenospheric mantle wedge, is the strongest force (but not the only one) needed to drive plate motion and is the dominant mode of mantle convection. Subduction Zone Chemistry: The subducted sediments and crust dehydrate and release water-rich (aqueous) fluids into the overlying mantle, causing mantle melting and fractionation of elements between surface and deep mantle reservoirs, producing island arcs and continental crust. Subduction zones drag down subducted oceanic sediments, oceanic crust, and mantle lithosphere that interact with the hot asthenospheric mantle from the over -riding plate to produce calc-alkaline series melts, ore deposits, and continental crust. Subduction zones have also been considered as possible disposal sites for nuclear waste, in which the action of subduction itself would carry the material into the planetary mantle, safely away from any possible influence on humanity or the surface environment. However, this method of disposal is currently banned by international agreement.Furthermore, plate subduction zones are associated with very large megathrust earthquakes, making the effects on using any specific site for disposal unpredictable and possibly adverse to the safety of long-term disposal.

REFFERENCES: www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/subducvolc_page.html myweb.cwpost.liu.edu/vdivener/notes/subd_zone.htm earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/glossary/?term=subduction%20zone