is the Subduction Factory?
Subduction of oceanic plates causes earthquakes,
tsunamis and explosive volcanism. Subduction also gives rise to
beneficial products, such as ore deposits, geothermal energy and
the very ground we live on. The Subduction Factory recycles raw
materials from the seafloor and underlying mantle, creates products
on the upper plate in the form of melts, aqueous fluids and gases,
and modulates the dynamics of plate tectonics. The Subduction
Factory Initiative (SubFac) aims to study fluxes through the subduction
zone to address three fundamental science themes:
- How do forcing functions such as convergence
rate and upper plate thickness regulate production of magma
and fluid from the Subduction Factory?
- How does the volatile cycle (H2O and CO2) impact
chemical, physical and biological processes from trench to deep
- What is the mass balance of chemical species
and material across the Subduction Factory, and how does this
balance affect continental growth and evolution?
These themes will be addressed by focused investigations
on active subduction Zones. The Central American and Izu-Bonin-Mariana
(IBM) subduction systems were selected for focussed study by the
geoscientific community during a series of open meetings based
on the following criteria: ample volcanic and seismic activity,
accessibility to both input and output, along-strike variations
in forcing functions, cross-arc and historical perspectives, minimal
upper plate contamination of magmas, and ability to address the
primary science objectives, and because they have contrasting
tectonic and chemical characteristics, allowing different forcing
functions to be investigated and modelled.
North Lau/Tonga Rapid Response - May 2009
SF Nuggets from 2009 Review Documents: Nuggets are available online!