Is "Hotspot" Volcanism a Consequence of Plate Tectonics?

Science  09 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5621, pp. 921-922
DOI: 10.1126/science.1083376

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Many volcanoes are associated with subduction zones or mid-ocean ridges, but other areas of unusually high volcanism (or "hotspots") have a more subtle connection to plate tectonic processes. In their Perspective, Foulger and Natland argue that "hotspot" volcanism is not very hot and is a shallow-source by-product of plate tectonics. In a related Perspective, DePaolo and Manga argue that evidence for at least some "hotspots" being caused by deep plumes originating at the base of Earth's mantle is strong, although direct evidence is still lacking because of the limited resolution of seismic studies.

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