We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Rapid subduction initiation and magmatism in the Western Pacific driven by internal vertical forces.

Maunder, B. and Prytulak, J. and Goes, S. and Reagan, M. (2020) 'Rapid subduction initiation and magmatism in the Western Pacific driven by internal vertical forces.', Nature communications., 11 (1). p. 1874.


Plate tectonics requires the formation of plate boundaries. Particularly important is the enigmatic initiation of subduction: the sliding of one plate below the other, and the primary driver of plate tectonics. A continuous, in situ record of subduction initiation was recovered by the International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 352, which drilled a segment of the fore-arc of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana subduction system, revealing a distinct magmatic progression with a rapid timescale (approximately 1 million years). Here, using numerical models, we demonstrate that these observations cannot be produced by previously proposed horizontal external forcing. Instead a geodynamic evolution that is dominated by internal, vertical forces produces both the temporal and spatial distribution of magmatic products, and progresses to self-sustained subduction. Such a primarily internally driven initiation event is necessarily whole-plate scale and the rock sequence generated (also found along the Tethyan margin) may be considered as a smoking gun for this type of event.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Date accepted:12 March 2020
Date deposited:21 April 2020
Date of first online publication:20 April 2020
Date first made open access:21 April 2020

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar