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What is a Hotspot?

1) What is a hotspot? A volcanic "hotspot" is an area in the upper mantle from which heat rises in a plume from deep in the Earth. High heat and lower pressure at the base of the mantle facilitates melting of the rock. This melt, called magma, rises through cracks to the surface and forms volcanoes. As the tectonic plate moves over the stationary hot spot, the volcanoes are rafted away and new ones form in their place.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Why are the Hawaiian Islands a linear formation if there are not plate boundaries in that region?  Why are the islands seemingly arranged from largest to smallest?  The answers lie in the physical geography of 'hot spots.'  After this introductory video, you can learn more about the geologic life cycle of a hot spot volcanic island in this companion video


Tags: Oceania, physical, geomorphology, landforms.

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, December 5, 2013 5:10 PM

Never really understood how island chains were made until now.  As the plate moves the iland is no longer growing and it begins to erode as a new island is created for the hotspot doesn't move the plate does.  That explains why the island of Hawaii is the largest island in the Hawaiian Island Chain..it is the yourgest island and the one the is currently under the hotspot...until it moves along the plate..which I do not believe will be in anyones life time.  It also helps explain how atolls were formed.  The plate moved so the island was no longer growing and though erosion of hundreds of thousands of years the center of the large island is gone while the ring is being supported by a coral reef.  Great site that really makes it easy to understand.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 13, 2014 2:09 PM

This video explains the geology of hotspots which are how many of the islands in the Pacific Ocean are formed. Convection of solid, hot material rises to the tectonic plate where it is trapped, heating the rock above to its melting point. The heat then forces the molten rock to the surface where it cools and creates volcanoes. Over millions of years, the tectonic plate drifts, but the hot spot does not, causing a series of volcanoes on the surface. The Hawaiian Islands were formed by this process, which is why the islands progress from large to small, with the smallest islands being the oldest, in the process of eroding completely away.

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 23, 2014 6:23 PM

This video entails that mantel and where a hotspot for a volcanic eruption will take place. This video depicts the way at which a hot spot is located and what makes it erupt and cause an eruption in the firt place. It goes step by step ways to see the many different forms of volcanoes and where they start and end up at.

Geography Education
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Curated by Seth Dixon