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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.
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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