South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK
Professor of Marine Geology and Geophysics
Bouyant plumes that rise up through the asthenospheric mantle to impact moving lithospheric plates provide a simple and elegant explanation for the linear age progression of oceanic island and seamount chains and their associated mid-plate topographic swells. There is much current debate, however, concerning the existence of mantle plumes. This essay will review the critical geophysical observations that support the existence of plumes, the models that have been proposed for how plumes rise from the core-mantle boundary through a convecting mantle to impinge on the base of the lithosphere and the important role played by plumes in geological processes such as intra-plate volcanism and swell formation, continental break-up and rifting and landscape evolution.
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