Is it possible for a large enough structure built near a small enough subduction zone to become lodged in it or buried very slowly as opposed to taken underground?

If so, how big would the structure need to be relative to the subduction zone?

  • $\begingroup$ You mean, a structure on the plate that's going under? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Jan 10, 2020 at 22:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It's called a tectonostratigraphic terrane. There are very many of them in this world; see a partial list in the Wikipedia article. For example, significant portions of the American states of Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia lie on Carolina terrane. (The question does not say "artificial".) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 11, 2020 at 0:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander, yes $\endgroup$ Jan 11, 2020 at 3:28

1 Answer 1


It’s not really possible at least with the materials and technology we have today.

A massive structure with a high mass would make subduction easier.

A massive structure with low mass would be better as it would tend to “float” but would suffer from a lot of other major issues. Firstly it would have to last millions of years to be properly tested. It would have to avoid becoming entrapped over those million years by falling debris from hills rising up and fault lines opening, closing, shearing and twisting unpredictably. The forces would be huge and eventually it would get entangled in surface material and would be subducted.

  • $\begingroup$ would any kind of future/theoretical materials make this more possible? $\endgroup$ Jan 11, 2020 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps if an object was large enough, light enough, durable enough and capable of resisting deformation well enough then yes perhaps it could but it would be a tall order to make such a material $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Jan 11, 2020 at 22:45

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