The Evolution of the Galapagos Mantle Plume: From Large Igneous Province to Ocean Island Basalt
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Mantle plumes are anomalously hot, narrow upwellings of mantle material that originate at the core-mantle boundary. As plumes rise they may form volumetrically large "heads" (~1000 km in diameter) with narrower (~100 km) "tails." Plume head melting is thought to form Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs), vast outpourings of basaltic lava (~106 km3), while plume tail melting forms linear chains of ocean island basalts (OIBs) similar the Emperor-Hawaii Seamount chain. Mantle plume derived melts indicate that these structures sample deep Earth geochemical and lithological heterogeneities. Studying plume-derived lavas can clarify important planetary-scale questions relating to the accretion of the Earth, primordial geochemical reservoirs, the fate of subducted materials, planetary differentiation, and convective mixing.
- Doctoral Dissertations