MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Subject: What causes the Hawaiian Hot Spot and why is it located where it is?

Date: Tue May 20 11:06:47 2003
Posted by Michael
Grade level: teacher/prof School: University of Alabama
City: Tuscaloosa State/Province: AL Country: USA
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 1053446807.Es

A student asked me what caused the Hawaiian Hot Spot.  I gave the usual 
response about a plume rising up through the asthenosphere and creating a large 
magma chamber at the contact point between the lithosphere and the rest of the 
upper mantle...but I was unable to explain what caused the plume to be there in 
the first place, other than writing it off as an anomaly in the mantle.  I 
would like to answer the student's question, but I am also quite curious 
myself.  I have researched the topic on the internet, but everything I have 
read avoids speculating on the mechanics behind the plume.  Does anyone really 
have any scientifically sound theories? What is unique about the area that 
facilitates the formation of the plume in the first place?  

Any help would be great.  I think this is a wonderful resource and will point 
students here when they have a question they can't find an answer to from their 
own research.  



Re: What causes the Hawaiian Hot Spot and why is it located where it is?

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