News FocusMANTLE DYNAMICS

Plumes From the Core Lost and Found

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Science  03 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5603, pp. 35-36
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5603.35

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Summary

Increasingly detailed seismic probing of Earth's interior is forcing geologists to confront some cold, hard truths about mantle plumes, columns of hot rock rising 2900 kilometers to the surface from the very bottom of the rocky mantle. Last month, at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, scientists reported that not all hot spots have plumes. Some insisted that plumes more than a few hundred kilometers in depth could not form because of the mantle's physical properties. The meeting also featured striking new evidence of how some hot spots are fed from the deepest reaches of the mantle.