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Deep Ocean Trenches and The Ring of Fire

Japan and the Ring of FireAs the giant Pacific Plate moves steadily westward, its leading edge subducts below the Eurasian Plate and is recycled into the Earth's mantle. This extended area of subduction results in intense earthquake and volcanic activity. Japan lies on the cusp of the Pacific-Philippine-Eurasian triple plate junction, where the complex interactions of three tectonic plates is unpredictable and loaded with potential activity.

When the Pacific Plate encounters the Philippine Plate, because it is older and more dense than the younger Philippine, it subducts below and results in the formation of a deep ocean trench. The Marianas Trench is 36,000 feet below sea level - the deepest known region of the world's oceans. Take note of the ocean floor near the infamous "Ring of Fire."
Thanks to Bruce Heezen and Marie Tharpe.
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