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2004 Geodynamics Seminar

Plumes versus Plates and the Nature of Mantle Hotspots

The marine geodynamics theme this year, plumes, plates and hotspots, considers the origins of geochemical and bathymetric anomalies around the globe. For many years, both geophysicists and geochemists have relied upon the mantle plume paradigm to explain most of the anomalous features on the globe unrelated to orogenic mountain belts and simple plate tectonics as a consequence of deep mantle plumes, often postulated to originate at the core-mantle boundary. In recent years an increasing number of heretics led by the heretic-in-charge, Don Anderson of Caltech, have questioned the plume hypothesis, particularly deep core-mantle plumes as an explanation for every feature on the earth's surface that could not be otherwise explained.
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One thing is certain, the plume paradigm has been overused. This seminar will focus on how plate-driven processes may explain a lot of features attributed to mantle plumes, how plates and plumes may interact together, and whether deep mantle plumes even exist. Speakers from both sides of the issue, and those in the middle will present evidence ranging from geology and geophysics, geochemistry, to the fluid dynamic basis for plumes.

Henry Dick,, 508-289-2590
Andrew Daly,, 508-289-28520