Farallon Slab Visualizations

Compiled by John McDaris of SERC.

These animations and images show what scientists know or hypothesize about the history, motion, and effects of the Farallon Plate being subducted under the North American Plate.

The complete set of Visualization Collections is available.

N.E. Pacific and W. North America Plate History, 38 Ma to Present. This page presents an animation by Tanya Atwater of the evolution of the western margin of the North American plate from 38 Ma to present. Motions are shown with respect to a stationary North America.

Farallon Plate Remnants (more info) This image and short video from the NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio shows the remnants of the Farallon Plate based on seismic tomography studies. The studies were conducted by Hans-Peter Bunge at Princeton University in 2000.

Geologic History of the San Andreas Fault System (more info) This page from the USGS resource This Dynamic Earth (online edition) describes the evolution of the western coast of North America. A series of block diagrams shows how the subduction zone along the west coast of North America transformed into the San Andreas Fault from 30 million years ago to the present.

The Farallon Plate (more info) In this animation from NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio, the Farallon Plate sinks beneath North American Plate and scrapes along bottom of continent for 1,500 kilometers before sinking again.

Subducting Farallon Plate under North America (more info) Three-dimensional seismic tomography image showing the subducting farallon plate beneath the crust of western North America. Part of Princeton University's 'Art of Science 2009' gallery.

Plate Tectonics and the Evolution of Central America and the Caribbean (more info) A series of illustrations with explanatory text from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay showing the tectonic evolution of Central America and the Caribbean region from 170 Ma to present.

Cenozoic to Recent plate configurations in the Pacific Basin: Ridge subduction and slab window magmatism in western North America | Geosphere | GeoScienceWorld (more info) These are figures show in an article from Geosphere by Madsen et al. Several of the figures show hypothetical reconstructions of the tectonic evolution in the area of the plate margin on the west side of North America.

Tectonic Evolution of Western North America (more info) This narrative set of cartoons illustrate a hypothesized sequence of events in Western North America's recent geologic history beginning at 30 Ma. Each cartoon is accompanied by explanatory text to help users understand what activity is being depicted and how each one differs from the one(s) before.