Research Topic

Unusual Subduction Processes

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Subduction zones are arguably one of the most complex components of plate tectonics, yet they have dominated the Earth’s dynamics for billions of years, and form major seismic and volcanic hazards. Despite significant progress in our understanding of the bulk of subduction zones, many regions with unusual ...

Subduction zones are arguably one of the most complex components of plate tectonics, yet they have dominated the Earth’s dynamics for billions of years, and form major seismic and volcanic hazards. Despite significant progress in our understanding of the bulk of subduction zones, many regions with unusual tectonic characteristics continue to be a challenge, as they do not always straightforwardly fit into the plate tectonic paradigm.

Why do some horizontally subducting slab segments have sparse intermediate-depth seismicity compared to very intense intermediate-depth seismicity around nearly steep slabs? How do we explain temporal and spatial disruptions of subduction signal patterns, such as unexplained gaps in tectonic tremors and unusual slow slips events? What are the dominant processes behind the observed global geochemical variability of arc magmatism? What controls the observed jumps in the location of some volcanic arcs? What controls the tearing of slabs? How do we start a new subduction zone and how do some subduction zones switch polarity?

Addressing these questions is essential if we want to understand the role of subduction in the Earth’s distant past or future, or if we want to reduce the significant natural hazards involved in subduction. It has become increasingly clear that significant progress can only be made through interdisciplinary research that combines geodynamical modeling with seismic and geochemical observations.

This Research Topic welcomes research papers that aim at shedding more light and proposing new hypotheses related to uncommon subduction processes. We encourage contributions from diverse fields of research such as tectonics, seismology, petrology, geochemistry, modeling, early Earth, and rock physics.


Keywords: subduction, modelling, seismicity, slabs, geochemistry, volcanic arcs


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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