The topography of the Hawaiian Islands is shown in 3-D.
Click on image for full size
Image Courtesy of Paul Johnson, University of Hawaii
Scientists Locate Deep Origins of "Hawaiian Hotspot"
News story originally written on December 3, 2009
Scientists are still trying to learn how the volcanic Hawaiian Islands formed. One theory is that they are made by plumes of lava from the mantle inside the Earth.
The scientists used a large network of sea-floor seismometers to test this theory. The seismometers were used to record the timing of seismic waves from large earthquakes (magnitudes greater than 5.5) around the world. This information was used to determine whether seismic waves travel more slowly through hot rock as they pass beneath Hawaii.
Based on the data they gathered, the scientists were able to make a 3-dimensional image of the Hawaiian mantle. There is a strong case for the existence of a deep mantle plume and this can tell us more about not only Hawaii, but also more about what the inner-core of the Earth is made up of.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
The ground underfoot might seem like it's not going anywhere but it is. It moves. If it moves all of a sudden the ground shakes. That's an earthquake! Earthquakes happen as pieces of the Earth's crust...more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. Adam Kent, a geologist at Oregon State University, says this...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core. The mantle is made up of many different reservoirs that have different chemical compositions. Scientists...more
Some faults look strong and like they wouldn’t cause an earthquake. But it turns out that they can slip and slide like weak faults causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults...more
The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more
Studying tree rings doesn't only tell us the age of that tree. Tree rings also show what climate was like while the tree was alive. This means that tree rings can tell us about climates of the past. Two...more
Earth's first life form may have developed between the layers of a chunk of mica sitting like a multilayered sandwich in primordial waters, according to a new hypothesis. The mica hypothesis, which was...more