Earthquake Damage
Sunset over coast
Seaside Bridge


A new initiative to investigate the processes that underlie subduction zone hazards

A community-driven Research Coordination Network to develop a new long-term research plan for focused study on land and under the sea

SZ4D Implementation Plan

The SZ4D Implementation Plan is out! 


The report, based on community input, identifies the key infrastructure requirements and science activities needed to better understand geohazards and reduce their risks to society. The report lays out our ambitious plan to make major advances in understanding subduction zone hazards by bringing together a diverse community of scientists in a long-term collaborative effort, deploying new instrumentation in subduction zones, and developing more sophisticated and accurate models. 

Hilley, G. E. (ed.), Brodsky, E.E., Roman, D., Shillington, D. J., Brudzinski, M., Behn, M., Tobin, H. and the SZ4D RCN (2022). SZ4D Implementation Plan. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at https://purl.stanford.edu/hy589fc7561https://doi.org/10.25740/hy589fc7561

Read the press release

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SZ4 Townhall at the 2022 AGU Fall Meeting in Chicago
Toward an SZ4D Science Center: Review of Science Priorities, Effort Progress, and Upcoming Activities
Friday December 16, 11:45 - 12:45, McCormick Place - S104a


SZ4D Community Meeting

Houston, TX | November 14-16, 2022 with an Early Career Symposium on Nov 13


What is SZ4D?

A vision of coordinated research to understand the processes that underlie subduction zone hazards

SZ4D is a new initiative in the U.S. research community to study subduction zones – the places where tectonic plates converge and collide – through both space and time, with a focus on the fundamental processes underlying geologic hazards such as great earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. 


Subduction zones produce the most devastating seismic, volcanic, and landslide hazards on the planet, yet we lack critical understanding of the basic physical and chemical processes controlling the occurrence and magnitude of earthquakes or eruptions. 


SZ4D focuses on designing targeted experiments to make the next big leaps in understanding of the processes underlying subduction geohazards. These are envisioned to involve comprehensive suites of new measurements to study subduction processes at key locations on the planet and fully incorporate the fourth dimension of time.  


The SZ4D Vision that emerged at the NSF-sponsored Subduction Zone Observatory Workshop (2016) was a vision for a new Subduction Zone Initiative (SZ4D) to capture and model emergent earthquake, tsunami, landslide, and volcanic phenomena over space and time. The ensuing "SZ4D Vision Document" workshop report identified three key components to develop and phase in over the next 3 to 4 years, all developed and guided by an integrative organization:


  • an interdisciplinary science program

  • a modeling collaboratory

  • a community infrastructure program

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Credit: Katy Cain/Carnegie Institution for Science, modified after Plank and McGuire, 2017.

The SZ4D Research Coordination Network

That integrative organization is the Research Coordination Network, or RCN. From 2018 to 2022, its National Science Foundation-funded mission is to coordinate and guide the development of the SZ4D Initiative, turning the conceptual SZ4D Vision into a unified, concrete community plan for a decade-long coordinated research effort. 


The SZ4D RCN comprises a Steering Committee, and Working Groups on key elements of the program and tasked to develop detailed plans. 


SZ4D Interest Groups

The SZ4D RCN is organized into five Working Groups - Landscapes and Seascapes (LS), Faulting and Earthquake Cycles (FEC), Magmatic Drivers of Eruption (MDE), Building Equity and Capacity in Geoscience, and Modeling Collaboratory for Subduction (currently NSF RCN).

- Working Group -

Faulting & Earthquake Cycles

Click Here

- Working Group -




- Working Group -


Drivers of


Click Here

- Working Group -

Building Equity & Capacity in Geoscience

- Working Group -

Modeling Collaboratory for Subduction

Steering Committee


* Executive Committee

Community Planning Documents


USGS Science Plan

Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide - A plan to advance subduction zone science


SZ4D NSF Vision Document

Understanding the processes that underlie subduction zone hazards in four dimensions


National Academies Report

Volcanic eruptions and their repose, unrest, precursors, and timing

The SZ4D Coordination Umbrella

These are additional NSF-funded RCNs that are tackling specific parts of the SZ4D Vision

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Modeling Collaboratory
for Subduction

Research Coordination Network


Community Network for Volcanic Eruption Response (CONVERSE)

Research Coordination Network


The SZ4D Research Coordination Network is funded by the National Science Foundation