North Pacific subduction process research benefits from new initiatives



The North Pacific is ringed by a convergent boundary that is segmented into active volcanic arcs that stretch from Japan through the Kuriles and Kamchatka to the Aleutians and mainland Alaska. The abundant volcanic eruptions and earthquakes and the complex tectonic problems offer an unparalleled opportunity to study arc processes.

The North Pacific subduction zones are large, spanning three nations, and the solid Earth problems are widely varied. Studying arc processes in this region requires strong international collaborations across the different scientific disciplines, and a recent international workshop generated recommendations that will facilitate such research. International student and researcher exchange programs, accessible archives of geodetic data, and identification of key scientific problems will help remove the barriers to research imposed by international boundaries and the size and remoteness of the region.