Study in Science may help change the broad understanding of how they are formed
Hawaii-Emperor chain, the conventional theory holds.
A map of Beru Atoll, part of the Gilbert Ridge seamount chain in the Pacific Ocean
Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, have produced new findings that may help alter commonly held beliefs about how chains of undersea mountains formed by volcanoes, or "seamounts," are created. Such mountains can rise thousands of feet off the ocean floor in chains that span thousands of miles across the ocean.
Since the mid-20th century, the belief that the earths surface is covered by large, shifting plates--a concept known as plate tectonics--has shaped conventional thinking on how seamount chains develop. Textbooks have taught students that seamount patterns are shaped by changes in the direction and motion of the plates. As a plate moves, stationary "hot spots" below the plate produce magma that forms a series of volcanoes in the direction of the plate motion.
Mario Aguilera | EurekAlert!
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