Benioff zone

Benioff zone

Cross-section of the Benioff zone.

A Benioff zone, also known as a Wadati-Benioff zone, is a dipping planar (flat) zone of earthquakes that is produced by the interaction of a downgoing oceanic crustal plate with a continental plate. It extends from the surface to a depth of about 700 kilometers (450 miles). Earthquakes can be produced in a Benioff zone by slip along the subduction thrust fault or by slip on faults within the downgoing plate as a result of bending and extension as the plate is pulled into the mantle.