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Subduction

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Author Topic: Subduction  (Read 555 times)
Arcturus
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« on: August 01, 2008, 12:50:15 am »

Importance

Subduction zones are important for several reasons:

Subduction Zone Physics: Sinking of mantle lithosphere 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 cold material sinking in subduction zones releases water into the overlying mantle, causing mantle melting and fractionating elements (buffering) between surface and deep mantle reservoirs, producing island arcs and continental crust.
Subduction Zone Biology: Because subduction zones are the coldest parts of the Earth's interior and life cannot exist at temperatures >150°C, subduction zones are almost certainly associated with the deepest (highest pressure) biosphere.
Subduction zones mix subducted sediments, oceanic crust, and mantle lithosphere and mix this with mantle from the overriding plate to produce fluids, calc-alkaline series melts, ore deposits, and continental crust.
Subduction zones have also being considered as possible disposal sites for nuclear waste, where the action would carry the material into the planetary mantle, safely away from any possible influence on humanity or the surface environment, but this method of disposal is currently banned by international agreement.

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