island arc

island arc

Long, curved chain of oceanic islands associated with intense volcanic and seismic activity and mountain-building processes. Examples include the Aleutian-Alaska Arc and the Kuril-Kamchatka Arc. Most island arcs consist of two parallel rows of islands. The inner row is a string of volcanoes, and the outer row is made up of nonvolcanic islands. In the case of single arcs, many of the islands are volcanically active. An island arc typically has a landmass or a partially enclosed, unusually shallow sea on its concave side. Along the convex side there usually exists a long, narrow deep-sea trench.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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