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Latest Earthquake | Chat Share
Most of the world’s earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions are caused by the continuous motions of the many tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s outer shell. The most powerful of these natural hazards occur in subduction zones, where two plates collide and one is thrust beneath another.
The USGS Science Plan, “Reducing Risk Where Tectonic Plates Collide” is a blueprint for building the crucial scientific foundation needed to inform the policies and practices that can make our Nation more resilient to subduction zone-related hazards.
What is a subduction zone? What makes subduction zones so hazardous? The most powerful earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and landslides occur in subduction zones where tectonic plates collide and one plate is thrust beneath another.
Seismic anisotropy measurements show that upper mantle hydration at the Middle America Trench (MAT) is limited to serpentinization and/or water in fault zones, rather than distributed uniformly. Subduction of hydrated oceanic lithosphere recycles water back into the deep mantle, drives arc volcanism, and affects seismicity at subduction zones. Constraining the extent of upper mantle hydration is a