Research Article

The Emperor Seamounts: Southward Motion of the Hawaiian Hotspot Plume in Earth's Mantle

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Science  22 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5636, pp. 1064-1069
DOI: 10.1126/science.1086442

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The Hawaiian-Emperor hotspot track has a prominent bend, which has served as the basis for the theory that the Hawaiian hotspot, fixed in the deep mantle, traced a change in plate motion. However, paleomagnetic and radiometric age data from samples recovered by ocean drilling define an age-progressive paleolatitude history, indicating that the Emperor Seamount trend was principally formed by the rapid motion (over 40 millimeters per year) of the Hawaiian hotspot plume during Late Cretaceous to early-Tertiary times (81 to 47 million years ago). Evidence for motion of the Hawaiian plume affects models of mantle convection and plate tectonics, changing our understanding of terrestrial dynamics.

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