The findings suggest current theories of how some volcanoes form may be too simple.
The hotspots that created volcanic islands such as those of Hawaii, Iceland, and the Galapagos Islands may often prove surprisingly cool, a new study finds.
These findings suggest that such hotspots may not always originate from giant plumes of scorching hot rock welling up from near Earth’s core as previously thought, scientists noted.
Volcanoes are typically found near the borders of tectonic plates, born from clashes between those giant slabs of rock as they drift on top of the mantle layer between Earth’s core and crust. Classic examples of such volcanoes are those that make up the so-called Ring of Fire on the Pacific Rim.
However, volcanoes sometimes erupt in the middle of tectonic plates. The sources of these hotspots might be mantle plumes, mushroom-shaped pillars of hot rock ascending from the deep mantle to sear overlying material like a blowtorch. As tectonic plates wander over such plumes, geologists think chains of volcanic isles can emerge.
Previous research suggested volcanic hotspots are roughly 100 to 300 degrees DOI: 10.1126/science.abj8944