Hot spot motion

Published: Thursday 15 February 1996

In a startling revelation, US geoscientist Ian Norton of the Exxon Exploration Company in Houston, Texas has claimed that the hot spot in the deep mantle under the Pacific plates has moved relative to the earth's lower mantle. It was thought earlier that hot spots are anchored in one place, while the plates moved.

Studying the dog-leg Shaped Havaiian-Emperor chain of submarine volcanoes, Norton realised that it has turned sharply at an angle of 60C. Norton, speculating on the hot spot, believes that when the Emperor chain evolved, the spot was closer to the surface and experienced movement propelled by some mantle current (New Scientist, Vol 148, No 2004).

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