Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hawaiian hotspot variability attributed to small-scale convection

Date:
June 29, 2011
Source:
University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST
Summary:
Small scale convection at the base of the Pacific plate has been simulated in a model of mantle plume dynamics, enabling researchers to explain the complex set of observations at the Hawaiian hotspot, according to a new study.

Small scale convection at the base of the Pacific plate has been simulated in a model of mantle plume dynamics, enabling reasearchers to explain the complex set of observations at the Hawaiian hotspot, according to a new study posted online in the June 26th edition of Nature Geoscience. "A range of observations cannot be explained by the classical version of the mantle plume concept," says Maxim Ballmer, Post Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Geology and Geophysics in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at UHM.

Related Articles


These observations include the occurrence of secondary volcanism away from the hotspot (e.g., Diamond Head, Punchbowl, Hanauma Bay), as well as the chemical asymmetry (Mauna Loa compared to Mauna Kea) and temporal variability (over timescales greater than 10,000,000 years) of hotspot volcanism itself.

Ballmer and colleagues, including advisor Garrett Ito, Associate Professor, in the Department of Geology and Geophysics in the SOEST at UHM, designed a geodynamic model of the mantle that successfully predicts a large range of observations thus providing insight into the composition and dynamics of the mantle. Ballmer says the findings of their model, "make an important contribution toward understanding the origin of volcanism away from plate boundaries. This is a long-standing question in our community that potentially provides general insight into the dynamics of our planet, and particularly into the make-up of the deepest mantle, from where mantle plumes originate. For many reasons, understanding the deepest mantle is relevant for questions about the early days of Earth, and the origin of water and life."

These findings came as a bit of a surprise. Although small-scale convection was one hypothesis for explaining late-stage rejuvenated volcanism on the islands, Ito reports, "this study is the first to qualitatively explore this mechanism and to show that it can explain both rejuvenated as well as arch volcanism, well away from the islands."

As a next step in understanding mantle dynamics, Ballmer hopes to explain some of the characteristics of the Hawaiian plume that have been revealed by SOEST -- UHM colleague Cecily Wolfe using seismic earthquake tomography. To do this, he will simulate a thermochemical mantle plume, which in some ways behaves similarly to the upwellings in lava lamps. A thermochemical plume is a plume that is hot (i.e. thermally buoyant), but compositionally dense. Such a plume typically behaves more complicatedly than a classical plume.

This research was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the U.S. National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maxim D. Ballmer, Garrett Ito, Jeroen van Hunen, Paul J. Tackley. Spatial and temporal variability in Hawaiian hotspot volcanism induced by small-scale convection. Nature Geoscience, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1187

Cite This Page:

University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. "Hawaiian hotspot variability attributed to small-scale convection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110629091644.htm>.
University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. (2011, June 29). Hawaiian hotspot variability attributed to small-scale convection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110629091644.htm
University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. "Hawaiian hotspot variability attributed to small-scale convection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110629091644.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dramatic Footage Shows Coast Guard Rescue Off Scottish Coast

Dramatic Footage Shows Coast Guard Rescue Off Scottish Coast

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) Footage just released by the UK Coast Guard shows a dramatic helicopter rescue off the Scottish coast, where five men were plucked to safety after their fishing boat sank on Saturday. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stunning Wingsuit Proximity Flying in Norway

Stunning Wingsuit Proximity Flying in Norway

Rumble (Jan. 23, 2015) A collection of amazing shots from flights made in the Aurland Valley in Norway. How incredible is that? Credit to &apos;BASEjumper&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Agrees Climate Change Is Happening, Just Not On Why

Senate Agrees Climate Change Is Happening, Just Not On Why

Newsy (Jan. 22, 2015) The Senate voted to confirm climate change is real, but some still weren&apos;t on board with the idea that humans are causing it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins