Placeholder canvas

Here’s how world’s biggest volcanoes were formed

Date:

Washington: An Australian University has solved the 168-year-old mystery of how the world’s biggest and most active volcanoes formed in Hawaii.

The study, published in Nature, found that the volcanoes formed along twin tracks due to a shift in the Pacific Plate’s direction three million years ago.

Lead researcher Tim Jones from Australian National University (ANU) said scientists had known of the existence of the twin volcanic tracks since 1849, but the cause of them had remained a mystery until now.

“The discovery helps to better reconstruct Earth’s history and understand part of the world that has captivated people’s imagination,” said Mr Jones, a PhD student from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences (RSES).

“The analysis we did on past Pacific Plate motions is the first to reveal that there was a substantial change in motion 3 million years ago. It helps to explain the origin of Hawaii, Earth’s biggest volcanic hotspot and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.”

Twin volcanic tracks exist in other parts of the Pacific, including Samoa, and the study found that these also emerged three million years ago.

Mr Jones said this kind of volcanic activity was surprising because it occurred away from tectonic plate boundaries, where most volcanoes are found.

“Heat from the Earth’s core causes hot columns of rock, called mantle plumes, to rise under tectonic plates and produce volcanic activity on the surface,” he said.

“Mantle plumes have played a role in mass extinctions, the creation of diamonds and the breaking up of continents.”

Co-researcher Dr Rhodri Davies from RSES said the twin volcanic tracks emerged because the mantle plume was out of alignment with the direction of the plate motion.

“Our hypothesis predicts that the plate and the plume will realign again at some stage in the future, and the two tracks will merge to form a single track once again,” Dr Davies said.

“Plate shifts have been occurring constantly, but irregularly, throughout Earth’s history. Looking further back in time we find that double tracks are not unique to young Hawaiian volcanism – indeed, they coincide with other past changes in plate motion.”

Hawaii sits at the south-eastern limit of a chain of volcanoes and submerged seamounts which get progressively older towards the north west.

The researchers worked with the National Computational Infrastructure at ANU to model the Pacific Plate’s change in direction and formation of the twin volcanic tracks through Hawaii.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Subscribe

Popular

More like this
Related

White House Lauds Israel For Intercepting Iranian Missiles, Says Israel Not Isolated At World Stage

In his remarks at the NBC News 'Meet The Press', Kirby said that the action taken by Israel demonstrates an extraordinary example of military superiority

IPL 2024: Fifties From Dube-Gaikwad, Dhoni’s Fiery Cameo Takes CSK To 206/4 Against MI

Rachin Ravindra was joined by skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad. The duo took a little time to settle in, but it was not too late until Gaikwad let his hands loose by smashing Coetzee for two fours and a six in the fifth over

Israel Iran Conflict: Israeli Military Successfully Intercepts 99 Pc Of Aerial Threats By Iran

On Sunday morning, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari also said that 99 per cent of the 300 or so projectiles fired by Iran at Israel overnight were intercepted by air defences

IPL 2024: Pathirana Returns For CSK As Mumbai Win Toss, Opt To Field First

Two of the most successful franchises in the history of the IPL, MI and CSK, will compete for the first time in the ongoing season