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hotspot assignment.doc

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Environmental Science
Nick Eyles

What are hot spotsA hot spot is the surface expression of molten rock or a plume of magma that rises persistently from within the Earth which reaches the surface forming underwater volcanoes These may develop tall enough to rise above the sea to form islands Tilling 1985 In other words a hot spot is a location on the Earths surface that has experienced active volcanism for long period of time such as millions of yearsIn 1963 J Tuzo Wilson came up with the idea that some volcanic chains result from the slow movement of a tectonic plate across a hot spot deep beneath Earths surface Hot spots are thought to be resulted by a narrow stream of hot mantle shooting up from the Earths coremantle boundary called mantle plume But some geologists believe uppermantle convection is the cause of hot spots This in turn raises the antipodal pair impact hypothesis which says that pairs of opposite hot spots may form as a result of the impact of a large meteor Several such hot spots have been discovered across the globe with Hawaii Reunion Yellowstone Iceland and Galapagos being the most currently active ones Wright 2000 Volcanoes and plate tectonicsVolcanoes are not randomly distributed over the Earths surface Most of them are located along island chains on the continental edges or beneath the sea forming long mountain ranges About half of the active volcanoes in the world above sea level are concentrated circling the Pacific Ocean to form the circumPacific Ring of Fire In the past 25 years scientists have come up with a theory called Plate Tectonics which explains the locations of volcanoes and their relationship to other largescale geologic features According to Plate tectonics theory the surface of Earth is made up of a dozen large plates that move relative to each other at speeds from less than one centimeter to about ten centimeters per
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