Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 20 Issue 01

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Volume 20, No. 1
Pages 116 - 127


Back-Arc Basins

By Fernando Martinez , Kyoko Okino, Yasuhiko Ohara , Anna-Louise Reysenbach, and Shana K. Goffredi  
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Earth’s geology is fashioned to a large degree at lithospheric plate boundaries by the types of relative motion between adjacent plates. At divergent plate boundaries, such as mid-ocean ridges, mafic basaltic lavas erupt, forming the seafloor that underlies most of the ocean basins. At convergent boundaries, such as subduction zones, oceanic lithosphere is consumed at deep-sea trenches, leading to the eruption of chains of andesitic arc volcanoes near the edge of the overriding plate. Back-arc basins are especially diverse geologic settings because they inherently involve both of these types of plate boundaries.


Martinez, F., K. Okino, Y. Ohara, A.-L. Reysenbach, and S.K. Goffredi. 2007. Back-arc basins. Oceanography 20(1):116–127, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.85.

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