A team of researchers taking part in the National Science Foundation MARGINS initiative traveled to the Mariana Islands at the western edge of the Pacific Ocean to answer some of the most challenging questions of plate tectonics. They seek a better understanding of subduction zones where material is routed from Earth's surface to its interior. What they find might also reveal how the atmosphere that sustains life on Earth was created and how it continues to evolve. This Web site will take you to nine volcanic islands in the chain, offering a guided tour through photos, video and day-by-day accounts of what the research team found. Along the way, get to know the history of the Mariana Islands. Now a commonwealth of the United States, the Marianas' story is one of occupation by a succession of different peoples and includes a pivotal role as the site of history-making events during World War II.
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