Origins of Volcanic Island Chains
Date: 5/20/2016; 1 minutes


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University of California, Berkeley, seismologists have produced for the first time a sharp, three-dimensional scan of Earth's interior that conclusively connects plumes of hot rock rising through the mantle with surface hotspots that generate volcanic island chains like Hawaii, Samoa and Iceland. Essentially a computed tomography, or CT scan, of Earth's interior, the picture emerged from a supercomputer simulation at the Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The new, high-resolution map of the mantle the hot rock below Earth's crust but above the planet's iron core not only shows these connections for many hotspots on the planet, but reveals that below about 1,000 kilometers the plumes are between 600 and 1,000 kilometers across, up to five times wider than geophysicists thought. The plumes are likely at least 400 degrees Celsius hotter than surrounding rock. (#30056)


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