More than half of the Earth's population lives within the confines of the Tethyan tectonic collision belt (Figure 1), a high-risk zone that contains at least 20 of the world's “mega-cities.” During the 20th century alone, collision-related seismicity and explosive volcanism (Figure 2) caused over a million deaths and catastrophic economic losses in this region. Destructive volcanism results mostly from the eruption of viscous, volatile-rich magma generated near converging or colliding plate margins, while the most damaging earthquakes are produced by post-collision tectonic thrusting and strike-slip faulting. An exploratory program has been initiated to coordinate research in the Tethyan region, appraise the role of collision-related mantle-dynamics in seismicity and volcanism, and assess their potential significance in mitigating seismic and volcanic hazards across the entire Tethyan belt.
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