Subduction Animation – © University of California

Tectonic plates sinking over millions of years? Megaearth-quakes & tsunamis? Global fluxes of elements?… How do stresses and energy release, via earth-quakes and fluid-mediated mass transfer, interact on such varied spatial and temporal scales (from 10-4 to 106-7 yr)? Time to ZIP (Zoom In between Plates), into the subduction plate interface!


ZIP project is a collaborative research and training project (Marie-Curie ITN) funded by the European Community: 12 PhD and 2 postdoctoral fellows are involved in ZIP, in a network comprising 12 leading international universities, research centers and 10 industrial partners.

Coordinator: Philippe Agard (Prof., UPMC) / Project Manager: Aurélie Jonquoy.


SCOPE: Subduction zones play a fundamental role in our daily life: half of the world’s population lives on top or nearby one of them, in coastal areas repeatedly devastated by large earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanic eruptions. These dramatic phenomena are fundamentally controlled by processes at and across subduction zone inter-plate boundaries, where stresses and energy release via earthquakes together with fluid-mediated mass transfer interact on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales (from 10-4 to 106-7 yr). Unfortunately, the nature, structure and properties of this plate interface are still largely unknown, calling for a thorough Zoom In between the Plates (ZIP).


ZIP research work packages WP1-2-3 are based on process understanding to reach the following overarching goals: (1) determine the plate interface dimensions, geometry and physical properties, (2) model time-integrated material fluxes, (3) constrain how rock rheologies control seismicity, mega-earthquake nucleation and rupture propagation.