Plate tectonics

Plate tectonics has revolutionized geosciences in the 1960's as different phenomena observed on the earth surface and in the interior could now be explained in a unifying concept. Earthquakes and volcanoes, the origin and fate of oceanic lithospheric plates and the material flux in the deep Earth are all linked by plate tectonics.

Plate tectonic processes are focussed along plate margins: new lithosphere originates at mid-ocean spreading centers and may ultimately be thrust underneath an upper plate along subduction zones. All of these processes comprise significant socio-economic elements. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanism and landslides pose tremendous hazards to society. Natural resources which are associated with these processes offer economic prospects.

An advanced understanding of these phenomena is thus essential for risk assessment and hazard mitigation strategies and for a safe and effective exploitation of georeservoirs.