News of the WeekMANTLE DYNAMICS

Another Quarry Sighted in the Great Mantle Plume Hunt?

Science  25 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5986, pp. 1622
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5986.1622-a

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Summary

Mantle plumes—tall columns of hot rock rising to feed volcanic hot spots like Hawaii—are either fundamental components of Earth's heat-shedding machinery that reshape the surface and perhaps trigger mass extinctions, or they are figments of some geophysicists' imaginations. Every report that someone has caught sight of a plume in seismic images of the mantle has been greeted by roughly equal portions of support and derision. The latest claim is faring a bit better. The appeal of the new work is that it is rooted directly in data.