Hot spots (geology)
Watts, Anthony B. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
- Volcanic expression
- Topographic swells
- Chemical characteristics of volcanoes
- Material additions
- Role of mantle plumes
- Links to Primary Literature
The surface manifestations of plumes, that is, columns of hot material, that rise from deep in the Earth's mantle. Hot spots are widely distributed around the Earth (Fig. 1). One of their characteristics is an abundance of volcanic activity which persists for long time periods (greater than 1 million years). When the lithosphere (the rigid outer layer of the Earth) moves over a plume, a chain of volcanoes is left behind that progressively increases in age along its length. Hot spots are believed to be fixed with respect to each other and the deep mantle so that the age and orientation of these chains provide information on the absolute motions of the tectonic plates. See also: Lithosphere; Plate tectonics
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