- plume that has not yet reached the surface (embryonic plume?–Isse et al., 2016)
- fossil plume (Stein and Hofmann,
1992; Rotolo et al., 2006)
- dying plume (Davaille and Vatteville,
- recycled plume head (Gasperini et al., 2000)
plume (Hoernle et al., 1995)
- finger-like plume (e.g.,
Granet et al., 1995; Cadoux et al., 2007)
- baby plume
- channelled plume (Camp and Roobol, 1992;
Oyarzun et al, 1997)
- thoroidal plume (Mahoney et al.,
- head-free plume (e.g., Ritter, 2006)
- cold plume (Garfunkel,
1989; Hanguita and Hernan, 2000)
- depleted residual plume
(e.g., Danyushevsky et al., 1995)
- pulsating plume (Krienitz
et al., 2007)
- subduction fluid-fluxed refractory plume
(Falloon et al., 2007)
ad hoc plume concepts,
from a Powerpiont presentation, by Michele Lustrino
& Eugenio Carminati
are the leaking of fluid released from the top of the
Marge Wilson, lecture to Dept. Earth Sciences, Durham
University, 1st May, 2007
... Another“ invisible”
core heat loss mechanism was proposed by Malamud and
Turcotte (How many plumes are there?, Earth Planet.
Sci. Lett., 174, 113–124, 1999)
who, by adding in contributions from 5200 unseen “stealth”
plumes that were assumed to follow a power-law size
distribution, estimated a plume heat flux as high as
35% of surface heat flux; these unseen plumes would
transfer core heat into the general mantle.
& Tackley, 2006
In fluid mechanics literature,
"plumes" refer to upwelling or downwelling
driven by self-buoyancy.
Korenaga, J., Earth Planet. Sci.
Lett., 234, 385-399, 2005 (p 391)
“We must be sure that we are all
talking about the same thing.”
Macelwane, J.B., Forecasting earthquakes, Bull.
Seismol. Soc. Am., 36, 1-4. 1946.
"... and plume in mind of one researcher
is not the same as the plume in mind of others ..."
Alexei Ivanov, October 2004
(1971) originally proposed that “plumes”,
which he described as hot upwellings of relatively primordial
material, rise from the deep mantle and feed surface
“hot spots”. Such plumes rise because of
thermal buoyancy, and must originate at a thermal boundary
layer. The only such layer known to exist in the deep
mantle is the core-mantle boundary (D"), and thus
“Morgan-type” plumes are generally assumed
to rise from this layer.
Irrefutable evidence for such plumes
has not been confirmed, and contrary, or unexpected
observations are often reported. On the other hand,
low-wave-speed seismic anomalies with different shapes,
e.g., shallow, or very wide bodies have been found.
Such observations have led to diversification of the
range of features that scientists call “plumes”.
A clear, widely accepted definition
of a plume does not currently exist. As a result, scientific
interaction is often hampered because individuals use
the word “plume” to mean different physical
models without each other realising. Furthermore, it
is essentially impossible to disprove the plume hypothesis
at any given location because the term “plume”
has become so vague. This webpage will air this subject,
and post comments, suggested definitions and contributions.
So how do you think a “plume”
should be defined?
Angelo Peccerillo, January
2005 – the "Teleplume"
It has been suggested (EOS, 85, no.
50, p. 541) that there is a plume below Italy, resting
(after its long and tiring journey from the core-mantle
boundary) since at least 60-70 Ma at a depth of 500-600
km. In spite of being so far from the surface, it was
able to open the Balearic and Tyrrhenian basins (>
800 km of extension) and push the lithosphere eastward,
generating the Apennine chain. A plume which is able
to cause such a disaster from such a large distance
could be named a "Teleplume".
Godfrey Fitton, October
"A plume is an upwelling of hotter stuff from
depth that carries a distinctive chemical and isotopic
Andy Saunders, March 2004,
“Plumes and Plumage” Symposium of the Herdman
Society, Dept. Earth Sciences, Liverpool University
“A mantle plume is a localised1, roughly
axisymmetric2 upwelling of buoyant3
rock4, originating from a boundary layer
deep5 within the Earth6”
This should be considered in conjunction with the “small
print” which is:
- Localised on a global scale – typically having
a conduit diameter of ~102 km, but a head
diameter of up to 2 x 103 km.
- The head may distort as it impacts the base of the
- They are thermally and/or compositionally buoyant,
but probably hotter then the surrounding mantle.
- Rock, plus melt at higher levels.
- Unspecified – 670 km or core-mantle boundary
are likely candidates.
- Plumes may occur on other planets, such as Venus.
... some random downloadings
from Google contributed by Don Anderson ....
Geol: A column of magma rising from the lower
mantle and spreading sideways on reaching the base of
the lithosphere, proposed as an explanation of the motion
of lithospheric plates and of sites of volcanic activity
away from plate margins.
1971 W. J. MORGAN in Nature 5 Mar. 42/2, “I
now propose that these hotspots are manifestations of
convection in the lower mantle which provides the motive
force for continental drift. In my model there are about
twenty deep mantle plumes bringing heat and relatively
primordial material up to the asthenosphere and horizontal
currents in the asthenosphere flow radially away from
each of these plumes.”
“An upwelling hot solid body arising from a thermal
boundary layer deep in the mantle, a natural and essential
feature of bottom-heated convection.”
Mark Jancin, March 2004
“Plume: a term that amounts to a semantic garbage
disposal that does nothing to clarify the thoughts of
either the author or the reader.”
(in glossary) of Chernicoff, C. and R. Venkatakrishnan,
1995, Geology (An Introduction to Physical Geology):
Worth Publishers, Inc., NY, NY, 593 p + Appendices:
“ plume: an upward flow of hot material
from the Earth's mantle into the crust.”
555 (glossary), W.K. Hamblin, 1989, The Earth's Dynamic
Systems (A Textbook in Physical Geology), 5th ed.:
Macmillan Publishing Co., NY, NY, 576 p:
“ mantle plume: a buoyant mass of hot mantle
material that rises to the base of the lithosphere.
Mantle plumes commonly produce volcanic activity and
structural deformation in the central part of lithospheric
p. 391, Bates R.L. and
J.A. Jackson (eds), 1984, Dictionary of Geological Terms,
3rd ed.: under direction of the American Geological
Institute; Doubleday, NY, NY, 571 p:
“plume: a persistent pipelike body of hot
material moving upward from the Earth's mantle into
the crust. Its surface expression may be a hot
|p. 513, Bates R.L. and J.A.
Jackson (eds), 1987, Glossary of Geology, 3rd ed.:
published by the American Geological Institute, Alexandria,
VA, 788 p:
(a) a localized body of volcanic rock rising into the
crust from the mantle and thought to be the causal mechanism
of a hot spot.”
“ hot spot
(p. 314): a volcanic center, 100 to 200 km across
and persistent for at least a few tens of millions of
years, that is thought to be the surface expression of
a persistent rising plume of hot mantle material.
Hot spots are not linked with arcs, and may or may not
be associated with oceanic ridges.”
Griffiths and Campbell
Basalts erupted at oceanic and continental hotspots
originate from zones of melting having potential temperatures
greater than normal melting and therefore are attributed
to plumes of hot material upwelling from deep in the
Mantle plumes are buoyant mantle upwellings that are inferred
to exist under some volcanic centres.
|Turcotte and Schubert (2002):
Mantle plumes are quasi-cylindrical concentrated upwellings
of hot mantle rock and they represent a basic form of
mantle convection (p.15)
Viewing “plume” as just shorthand for any
of various kinds of anomalously hot mantle seems to
me to be a liberating point of view.
|Henry Dick, WHOI:
A plume is a non-ridge-driven, three-dimensional instability
in the mantle (10th February, 2004).
Plume: A narrow thermal feature, which can
be either hot or cold, which rises or sinks because
of its anomalous temperature compared to the surrounding
fluid. In fluid dynamics a jet has the same meaning.
A plume or jet arises from the instability of a thermal
boundary layer that is heated from below or cooled from
Mantle plume: A hot narrow buoyant
upwelling rising from deep in the mantle and generally
attributed to thermal instability of a thin layer near
the core-mantle boundary. In Earth sciences a plume
is also defined as a form of convection independent
of other kinds of convection or plate tectonics. Plumes
are considered to be the way the core gets rid of its
heat, while plate tectonics is defined as the way the
mantle gets rid of its heat.
A column of magma rising from the lower mantle and spreading
sideways on reaching the base of the lithosphere, proposed
as an explanation of the motion of lithospheric plates
and of sites of volcanic activity away from plate margins.
fluid dynamics definition:
A plume is a hypothetical narrow thermal upwelling (or
downwelling) from a deep (or surface) thermal
boundary layer rising (or sinking ) through a homogeneous
isothermal stationary fluid.
by Don Anderson, January 2004:
Plumes are used in solid Earth sciences to
rationalize a variety of phenomena including uplift
and breakup of continents, oceanic swells, island chains,
large igneous provinces, and unusual basalt chemistry
Morgan's original definition:
I now propose that these hotspots are manifestations
of convection in the lower mantle which provides the
motive force for continental drift. In my model there
are about twenty deep mantle plumes bringing heat and
relatively primordial material up to the asthenosphere
and horizontal currents in the asthenosphere flow radially
away from each of these plumes (Morgan, 1971).
According to this argument, all upward movement of
mantle material is confined to about 20 plumes, each
plume a few hundred kilometers in diameter, rising from
the core–mantle boundary. The plume effectively
burns a hole through the overlying crustal plate ..
and a volcano results (P. Francis, “Volcanoes”
From Turner (1969)
A variety of phenomena related under the heading of
turbulent buoyant convection from small souces …
a plume arises when buoyancy is supplied continuously….
A narrow buoyant upwelling in fluids of high Peclet
number and near unity Prandtl number.
A solid-state, narrow upwelling current in the mantle
with a diameter of the order of 100 km and originating
from a hot, low-density boundary layer located either
above the seismic discontinuity at 660 km depth or near
the core-mantle boundary at 2,900 km depth..
by Erik Lundin, 23rd December, 2003:
The term “cactoplume” is an adaptation
of the term “cactolith” to a plume.
A cactolith (Glossary of Geology) is an irregular
intrusive igneous body of obscurely cactuslike
form, more or less confined to a horizontal
zone and appearing to consist of irregularly
related and possibly distorted branching and
anastamosing dikes that fed a laccolith. The
term was introduced by Hunt et al.
(1953, p. 151): “a quasi-horizontal chonolith
composed of anastamosing ductoliths whose distal
ends curl like a harpolith, thin like a sphenolith,
or bulge discordantly like an akmolith or ethmolith”.
So cactoplumes ought to be able to generate the
entire magmatic record. Unfortunately Hunt did
not provide a drawing of a cactolith! [Ed: But
luckily Erik did - see right]
... the cactoplume ... the ultimate fix
for any surface phenomenon
- Hofmann, A.W., Mantle geochemistry: the message
from oceanic volcanism, Nature, 385,
- Turner, J.S., Ann. Rev. Fluid Mech., 1,
updated October 2nd, 2007