Slab2, a comprehensive subduction zone geometry model

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Science  05 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6410, pp. 58-61
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat4723

Detailing subduction zones

Subduction zones are responsible for the most-damaging and tsunami-generating great earthquakes. Hayes et al. updated their Slab1.0 model to include all seismically active subduction zones, including geometrically complex regions like the Philippines. The new model, Slab2, details the geometry of 24 million square kilometers of subducted slabs, from ocean trench to upper mantle. The model will be vital for fully understanding seismic hazard in some of the most populated regions in the world.

Science, this issue p. 58


Subduction zones are home to the most seismically active faults on the planet. The shallow megathrust interfaces of subduction zones host Earth’s largest earthquakes and are likely the only faults capable of magnitude 9+ ruptures. Despite these facts, our knowledge of subduction zone geometry—which likely plays a key role in determining the spatial extent and ultimately the size of subduction zone earthquakes—is incomplete. We calculated the three-dimensional geometries of all seismically active global subduction zones. The resulting model, called Slab2, provides a uniform geometrical analysis of all currently subducting slabs.

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