This map shows details of Japan and vicinity not visible in an earlier publication, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3064. Japan and its island possessions lie across four major tectonic plates: Pacific plate, North America plate; Eurasia plate; and Philippine Sea plate. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, beneath Hokkaido and northern Honshu, along the eastern margin of the Okhotsk microplate, a proposed subdivision of the North America plate (Bird, 2003). Farther south, the pacific plate is subducted beneath volcanic islands along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This 2,200 km-long zone of subduction of the Pacific plate is responsible for the creation of the deep offshore Ogasawara and Japan trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of the Circumpacific island arcs. Similarly, the Philippine Sea plate is itself subducting under the Eurasia plate along a zone, extending from Taiwan to southern Honshu, that comprises the Ryuku Islands and the Nansei-Shonto trench.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Seismicity of the Earth 1900-2007, Japan and Vicinity