At convergent boundaries, tectonic bowl collide with each other. The occasions that take place at these boundaries are linked to the types of plates — oceanic or continental — that are interacting.

You are watching: What happens when a plate carrying oceanic crust collides with a plate carrying continental crust

Subduction Zones and also Volcanoes

At part convergent boundaries, an oceanic bowl collides through a continent plate. Oceanic crust often tends to be denser and thinner 보다 continental crust, for this reason the denser oceanic crust gets bent and also pulled under, or subducted, beneath the lighter and thicker continental crust. This creates what is referred to as a subduction zone. Together the oceanic tardy sinks, a deep oceanic trench, or valley, is created at the leaf of the continent. The crust continues to be required deeper right into the earth, wherein high heat and pressure cause trapped water and other gasses to be exit from it. This, in turn, renders the base of the crust melt, developing magma


The magma formed at a subduction region rises up toward the earth"s surface and also builds up in magma chambers, wherein it feeds and also creates volcanoes on the overriding plate. Once this magma find its method to the surface through a vent in the crust, the volcano erupts, expelling lava and also ash. An example of this is the band of active volcanoes that encircle the Pacific Ocean, regularly referred to as the Ring of Fire.

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Illustration portraying how island arcs room formed.

A subduction zone is also generated as soon as two oceanic plates collide — the enlarge plate is required under the younger one — and also it leader to the development of chains of volcanic islands known as island arcs. Examples encompass the Mariana islands in the western Pacific Ocean and the Aleutian Islands, turn off the coastline of Alaska.

Since the collision and subduction of plates is no a smooth process, large, powerful earthquakes are an additional phenomenon that an outcome from this form of interaction. Earthquakes created in a subduction ar can likewise give rise to tsunamis. A tsunami is a vast ocean wave brought about by a sudden transition on the ocean floor, such as an undersea earthquake. If the wave reaches land, the can reason incredible destruction, prefer the eastern Tsunami, i beg your pardon killed much more than 200,000 world in 11 countries throughout the Indian Ocean region in December 2004.

Collision Zones and Mountains

What happens when two continental plates collide? since the rock comprising continental plates is generally lighter and less thick than oceanic rock, the is also light to obtain pulled under the earth and also turned right into magma. Instead, a collision between two continental plates crunches and also folds the absent at the boundary, lifting it up and also leading come the formation of mountains and mountain ranges.


An instance of this mountain-building procedure is the Himalayan selection in southerly Asia. Comprise the highest possible mountain peaks in the world and also traversing the modern-day nations of India, Pakistan, China (Tibet), Bhutan, and Nepal, the Himalayas were created by the collision of the Indian and also Eurasian Plates. This process began after the breakup the Pangaea, once India became an island continent and also began traveling northward toward Asia. The island of India slammed right into Asia around 40 to 50 million years ago near modern-day Tibet, crushing and also folding the key to kind the Himalayan hill range. Its ideal known peaks, mount Everest and also K2, are amongst several the measure end 8,000 meter (26,000 feet) high at their summits. Due to the fact that the Indian bowl is continuing in that northward movement into Asia, the Himalayas continue to grow greater each year by tiny amounts (5 to 20 mm or 1 inch per year).

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Image credits: Animations and also illustration the oceanic-oceanic plate collision adapted from illustrations by woman Russell indigenous Jacquelyne Kious and also Robert Tilling, This Dynamic Earth, USGS, pp. 37 and also 40.
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