Volcanic hotspots are colder than expected

The massive accumulations of molten rock that feed isolated volcanoes like Hawaii, Iceland, or the giant Yellowstone volcano are often surprisingly cool. This calls into question the 50-year-old hypothesis about its origin. This is the result of a working team led by Xiyuan Bao of the University of California at Los Angeles following seismic measurements that provide information about the temperature in the Earth’s interior. As the team says in “Science”, at least 40 percent of hot spots are too cold to lift from the deep mantle. So it is at least unclear whether it starts from the boundary between the Earth’s core and the mantle, as the classical theory requires.

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