Benioff zone

[ ben-ee-awf, -of ]
/ ˈbɛn iˌɔf, -ˌɒf /

noun Geology, Oceanography.

a planar seismic zone in oceanic crust along which subduction of lithospheric plates gives rise to frequent earthquakes: marked by oceanic trenches sloping downward at about 45° toward adjacent island arcs or continents.

Origin of Benioff zone

after Hugo Benioff (1899–1968), U.S. geophysicist Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for benioff zone

Benioff zone

/ (ˈbɛnɪəf) /


a long narrow region, usually adjacent to a continent, along which earthquake foci lie on a plane which dips downwards at about 45° and along which the oceanic lithosphere is thought to be descending into the earth's interiorCompare subduction zone

Word Origin for Benioff zone

C20: named after Hugo Benioff (1899–1968), American seismologist, who first discovered the phenomenon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012