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Hot Spots, Mantle Plumes, and Plate Tectonics

What are Hot Spots and Mantle Plumes and how do these concepts relate to Plate Tectonics?

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1. What are Hot Spots and Mantle Plumes and how do these concepts relate to Plate Tectonics?

Hot Spots and Mantle Plumes

Mantle plumes are areas of hot, upwelling mantle. A hot spot develops above the plume. Magma generated by the hot spot rises through the rigid plates on the lithosphere and produces active volcanoes at the Earth's surface. As oceanic volcanoes move away from the hot spot, they cool and subside, producing older islands, atolls, and seamounts. As continental volcanoes move away from the hot spot, they cool, subside, and become extinct.

Hot spots are places within the mantle where rocks melt to generate magma. The presence of a hot spot is inferred by anomalous volcanism, such as the Hawaiian volcanoes within the Pacific Plate. The Hawaiian hot spot has been active at least 70 million years, producing a volcanic chain that extends 3,750 miles (6,000 km) across the northwest Pacific Ocean.

Hot spots also develop beneath continents. The Yellowstone hot spot has been active at least 15 million years, producing a chain of calderas and volcanic features along the Snake River Plain that extends 400 miles (650 km) westward from northwest Wyoming to the Idaho-Oregon border.

Relationship to Plate Tectonics

In the 1960s, geologists were seeking ways to prove or disprove the new idea of moving plates. Exploration of magnetic anomalies at mid-ocean ridges ...

Solution Summary

This solution answers the question: What are hot spots and mantle plumes and how do these concepts relate to Plate Tectonics? Supplemented with map and geographic locations.

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