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Letters to Nature
Nature 230, 42 - 43 (05 March 1971); doi:10.1038/230042a0

Convection Plumes in the Lower Mantle

W. J. MORGAN

Department of Geological and Geophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

THE concept of crustal plate motion over mantle hotspots has been advanced1 to explain the origin of the Hawaiian and other island chains and the origin of the Walvis, Iceland-Farroe and other aseismic ridges. More recently the pattern of the aseismic ridges has been used in formulating continental reconstructions2. I have shown3 that the Hawaiian-Emperor, Tuamotu-Line and Austral-Gilbert-Marshall island chains can be generated by the motion of a rigid Pacific plate rotating over three fixed hotspots. The motion deduced for the Pacific plate agrees with the palaeomagnetic studies of seamounts4. It has also been found that the relative plate motions deduced from fault strikes and spreading rates agree with the concept of rigid plates moving over fixed hotspots. Fig. 1 shows the absolute motion of the plates over the mantle, a synthesis which satisfies the relative motion data and quite accurately predicts the trends of the island chains and aseismic ridges away from hotspots.

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References

1. Wilson, J. T., Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc., A, 258, 145 (1965).
2. Dietz, R. S., and Holden, J. C., J. Geophys. Res., 75, 4939 (1970).
3. Morgan, W. J., Hess Memorial Volume (edit. by Shagam, R.), Mem. Geol. Soc. Amer. (in the press).
4. Francheteau, J., Harrison, C. G. A., Sclater, J. G., and Richards, M. L., J. Geophys. Res., 75, 2035 (1970).
5. Engel, A. E. J., Engel, C. G., and Havens, R. G., Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 76, 719 (1965).
6. Gast, P. W., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 32, 1057 (1968).
7. Oversby, V. M., and Gast, P. W., J. Geophys. Res., 75, 2097 (1970).
8. McKenzie, D. P., Geophys. J., 18, 1 (1969).
9. Morgan, W. J., J. Geophys. Res., 70, 6189 (1965).
10. Kaula, W. M., Science, 169, 982 (1970).



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