Explore the Energy Glossary

Look up terms beginning with:


1. n. [Geology]

A plate tectonic process in which one lithospheric plate descends beneath another into the asthenosphere during a collision at a convergent plate margin. Because of the relatively higher density of oceanic lithosphere, it will typically descend beneath the lighter continental lithosphere during a collision. In a collision of plates of continental lithosphere, the density of the two plates is so similar that neither tends to be subducted and mountains form. As a subducted plate descends into the asthenosphere, Earthquakes can occur, especially in the Wadati-Benioff zone, but, if the plate descends deeply into the mantle, it will eventually be heated to the point of melting. Volcanoes can form above a descending plate.

See: active marginasthenospherecollisionconvergencedensitylithospheremantlemidoceanic ridgeplate tectonicsvolcanoWadati-Benioff zone

Schematic cross section of convection and tectonic plates.