An oceanic plateau has been observed for the first time in Earth’s lower mantle, pushing Hawaii’s birthplace back to 100 million years.
Image Source: Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni, UCLA
The Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain, including the current Hawaiian volcanoes, was created by the Hawaiian mantle plume. Researchers discovered an oceanic plateau at ~810 km depth beneath eastern Russia. It was created by the Hawaiian mantle plume head during the initiation stage of the Hawaiian hot spot ~100 million years ago, and subducted into the Kamchatka Trench 20–30 million years ago.
The team of researchers included Songqiao “Shawn” Wei from Michigan State University; Peter M. Shearer from Scripps Institute of Oceanography; Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni from the University of California, Los Angeles; Lars Stixrude from the University of California, Los Angeles; and Dongdong Tian from MSU.