** Progress in Earth and Planetary Science is the official journal of the Japan Geoscience Union, published in collaboration with its 50 society members.

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    Solid earth sciences

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    An introductory review of the thermal structure of subduction zones: III—Comparison between models and observations

    Peter E. van Keken, Cian R. WilsonPeter E. van Keken, Cian R. Wilson

    Geodynamics, Plate tectonics, Finite element methods, Subduction zone metamorphism, Arc volcanism

    Comparison between TerraFERMA and Sepran predictions for the thermal structure of the models for Cascadia (row a), Alaska Peninsula (row b), and Central Honshu (row c).

    Column 1: Temperature as predicted by TerraFERMA. Slab top is indicated by the solid line and the slab Moho by the dashed line. Column 2: Temperature difference between predictions from TerraFERMA and Sepran. Slab top and Moho indicated as in column 1. Column 3: Comparison of the temperature at the slab top and slab Moho. Lines are from TerraFERMA (slab top solid lines, slab Moho dashed lines), open circles are from Sepran

    The thermal structure of subduction zones is fundamental to our understanding of the physical and chemical processes that occur at active convergent plate margins. These include magma generation and related arc volcanism, shallow and deep seismicity, and metamorphic reactions that can release fluids. Computational models can predict the thermal structure to great numerical precision when models are fully described but this does not guarantee accuracy or applicability. In a trio of companion papers, the construction of thermal subduction zone models, their use in subduction zone studies, and their link to geophysical and geochemical observations are explored. In this last part, we discuss how independent finite element approaches predict the thermal structure of the global subduction system and investigate how well these predictions correspond to geophysical, geochemical, and petrological observations.