Back-arc basin

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Back-arc basins are geologic features, submarine basins associated with island arcs and subduction zones.They are found at some convergent plate boundaries, presently concentrated in the Western Pacific ocean. Most of them result from tensional forces caused by oceanic trench rollback and the collapse of the edge of the continent. Back-arc basins were not predicted by plate tectonics theory, but they are consistent with this model for how the Earth loses heat.


Back-arc basins are typically very long (several hundreds to thousands of kilometers) and relatively narrow (a few hundred kilometers). The restricted width of back-arc basins is probably because magmatic activity depends on water and induced mantle convection and these are both concentrated near the subduction zone. Spreading rates vary from very slow spreading (Mariana Trough), a few centimeters per year, to very fast (Lau Basin), 15&nbsp;cm/year. These ridges erupt basalts that are similar to those erupted from the mid-ocean ridges; the main difference is that back-arc basin basalts are often very rich in magmatic water (typically 1-1.5 weight % H<sub>2</sub>O), whereas mid-ocean ridge basalt magmas are very dry (typically <0.3 weight % H<sub>2</sub>O). The high water contents of back-arc basin basalt magmas is derived from water carried down the subduction zone and released into the overlying mantle wedge. Additional source of water could be the eclogitization of......
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