Subduction zones - the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt

The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB) stretches 1,000km along the southern edge of the North American plate, generating a wide range of igneous products and processes.

The TMVB is an active continental arc that formed around 11 million years ago. The variable composition of its igneous products and volcanic style make the TMVB a particularly interesting subduction zone to study.

Previous TMVB research has identified:

  • bimodal (basalt-rhyolite) magmatism and peculiar adakitic rocks, which may relate to melting of the subducting slab
  • co-existence of alkaline intra-plate-type magmatism along with the typical arc-related magmatism 

Read more about TMVB magmatism (PDF 1.0 MB)
Is there any evidence for slab melt?

Our current research projects include:


Subduction zone
A tectonic plate boundary where one oceanic plate moves beneath another plate. Often associated with volcanoes, earthquakes and mountain building.

Continental arc
A chain of volcanoes formed above a subduction zone.

The formation of igneous rock from the cooling and solidification of magma.

Silica-rich igneous rocks formed in subduction zones, characterised by high strontium/yttrium ratios and low yttrium and ytterbium content.