RESOURCES: The Great Lava Debate

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Science  16 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5656, pp. 291
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5656.291a

The origin of the lava oozing from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano (above) and other craters has erupted into one of geology's most heated battles (Science, 9 May 2003, p. 920). For 30 years, scientists have held that columns of hot rock ascend nearly 3000 kilometers from the bottom of Earth's mantle, spilling out at spots such as the Hawaiian Islands. But now some researchers question the existence of these so-called mantle plumes, contending that the lava must originate much nearer the surface. Check out their arguments at this site created by seismologist Gillian Foulger of Durham University in the U.K. The site features news articles about the controversy along with a slew of technical essays by Foulger and other plume skeptics, as well as a few supporters. The two sides also duke it out at this site from Britain's Geological Society.

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