Articles

Mantle Plumes and Continental Tectonics

Science  10 Apr 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5054, pp. 186-193
DOI: 10.1126/science.256.5054.186

Abstract

Mantle plumes and plate tectonics, the result of two distinct modes of convection within the Earth, operate largely independently. Although plumes are secondary in terms of heat transport, they have probably played an important role in continental geology. A new plume starts with a large spherical head that can cause uplift and flood basalt volcanism, and may be responsible for regional-scale metamorphism or crustal melting and varying amounts of crustal extension. Plume heads are followed by narrow tails that give rise to the familiar hot-spot tracks. The cumulative effect of processes associated with tail volcanism may also significantly affect continental crust.

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