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The Plume Assumption: Frequently Used Arguments

How scientists sort it out

Don L. Anderson

Seismological Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125

dla@gps.caltech.edu

“The method of postulating [assuming] what we want has many advantages. They are the same as the advantages of theft over honest toil.”

Bertrand Russell (Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy)

“We see that many assumptions used in previous hypotheses can be discarded as unnecessary ... there is no need to locate the source of plumes in the lower mantle.”

Richter, F. & Parsons, B. J. Geophys. Res., 80, 2529-2541, 1975

Plate tectonics is the style of convection adopted by a hot planet with a cold atmosphere and an interior that is buffered by the melting point of rocks. In a planet as large as the Earth the effect of pressure can make the gravitational separation of different density materials, during the hot accretion process, irreversible, even if the intrinsic densities of the superposed materials only differ by 1%. After accretion the planet is stratified according to volatility, melting point, chemistry and density. The deep layers are inaccessible since no reasonable temperature can make the material buoyant. The top of the mantle is characterized by narrow, dense downwellings and broad, warm, passive upwellings. The warmer and more fertile regions are at or above the melting point, partly because of moderate temperature variations and partly because of variations in melting temperatures. Most of the radioactive elements are in the crust and upper mantle because of fractionation during accretion and upward transport of melt, a process called radial zone refining.

A small fraction of the total surface heat flow comes from the core. The plume hypothesis focuses on this core heat. The high pressure and low heat flow at the base of the mantle means, however, that buoyant upwellings must be huge, long-lived and slow to develop. Even a small intrinsic density contrast between the deep layers in the mantle will trap the upwellings, since pressure lowers the thermal expansivity of silicate rocks, and increases the viscosity and thermal conductivity.

Textbooks, however, show narrow plumes of material rising from the core-mantle boundary directly to Yellowstone and Iceland and about 40 other volcanoes designated as hotspots. These cartoons are based on simple laboratory experiments involving the injection of hot fluid into a tank of stationary fluid, or the pot-on-the-stove analogy. Pressure is unimportant in these simulations in which all the thermal properties are more-or-less constant.

The effect of pressure on such key physical parameters as interatomic distances, thermal conductivity, viscosity and coefficient of thermal expansion is the main reason why the plume hypothesis is not viable in an Earth-sized planet. Yet the pressure effect is seldom discussed, never duplicated in laboratory simulations and seldom treated in computer simulations.

Among the more critical assumptions that have been made in developing the plume hypothesis are:

  • “normally” the mantle is below the melting point
  • melting anomalies are due to localized high temperature, not low melting point
  • the mantle is almost isothermal (adiabatic)
  • cracks will not be volcanic unless the local temperature is anomalously high
  • high temperatures require importation of heat from the core-mantle boundary in the form of narrow jets
  • the upper mantle is vigorously stirred and is chemically homogeneous

None of these assumptions are supported (see references below) and the widely ignored effect of pressure leads to a quite different picture of the dynamics in the interior of the mantle. The proximity of the upper mantle to its melting point, and the variable fertility of the mantle due to plate tectonic processes, makes the plume hypothesis unnecessary.

Why then is the plume model so widely accepted? What are the main arguments for plumes? The current arguments are quite different from those on which the plume hypothesis was originally based, although the “fixity” argument is sometimes still used (DePaolo & Manga, 2003). Evidence now used in support of plumes includes the large volume of erupted basalts, the rapidity of eruption, the chemistry of the magma, elevated helium isotope ratios of some of the basalts at some hotspots, and the observation that inferred hotspot tracks cross ridges.

The most convincing arguments for a “hotspot” or a plume would be high magma temperature, uplift, thick crust, high heat flow, thermal erosion of lithosphere, or a deep mantle tomographic signal. These are indicators of a thermal mechanism, as opposed to athermal mechanisms which have also been proposed for oceanic plateaus, swells and continental flood basalts (CFB). Athermal mechanisms include focusing, fertility, ponding, EDGE and rift mechanisms, processes involving lithospheric stress and dikes, and a partially molten shallow mantle (Anderson, 1998). Melting of particularly fertile or volatile-rich mantle containing materials such as recycled oceanic crust, sediments, eclogite, piclogite or pyroxenite, also obviates the need for high plume temperatures.

The absolute amount of magma is often used as an argument supporting plumes but usually no comparisons with other mechanisms are made. For example, ridges also produce large quantities of basalt and do so for much longer periods of time. Focusing and EDGE-driven effects can increase rates by a factor of five for short periods of time (see references below). Ridges have to share their source with adjacent ridge sections while a CFB can drain a large area to a central point. CFB can also drain an area that was ponding magma for a long period of time prior to the extension that allowed eruption. Mature fast-spreading ridges do not have this opportunity and their drainage area is limited. CFB are transients and three-dimensional, while most ridges are steady state and two-dimensional. These factors alone increase eruption rates and volumes by large factors over ridges, with no increase in temperature. Also, some plateaus clearly have a continental base and are not entirely recent features as often assumed. Other processes that can give results similar to plumes are small-scale convection, an intrinsic part of plate tectonics, and convection induced by lithospheric architecture (corner flow).

Richards et al. (1989) pointed out that large volumes (of the order of 106 km3 of basalt) and rapid rates (order of 1 Myr) are characteristics of large igneous provinces (LIPs) and CFB. They assumed that these must be attributes of plumes since it was believed that LIPs were the result of plumes rather than athermal mechanisms, such as increased fertility of the mantle, corner flow or plate tectonics. Attempts to model these characteristics by fluid dynamic calculations have failed, however (Cordery et al., 1997; Farnetani & Richards, 1994; Farnetani, 1996).

Midplate volcanism cannot be explained, neither the volumes nor the rates. The problem is that thick lithosphere precludes much melting since the shallow part of the melting column is taken up by the plate. A fertility explanation does not suffer from this defect. Ad hoc adjustments have been made to the plume hypothesis to increase the amount of melting (Cordery et al., 1997). Even so, the eruption rates calculated are an order of magnitude too low, and even moderately thick lithosphere is calculated to eliminate melting altogether. These calculations tended to lend credence to mechanisms such as stress control of eruption rates (the lithospheric valve mechanism) and fertility and volatile variations in the shallow mantle (all athermal mechanisms) as explanations for voluminous midplate volcanism. Large volumes and eruption rates, especially if ephemeral, can result from low mantle melting point, increase in the basalt content of the shallow mantle (the recycling mechanism), increase in volatile content, EDGE- and rift-induced convection, and focusing. High temperature alone apparently is inadequate (Cordery et al., 1997, Farnetani & Richards, 1994, Farnetani, 1996). Athermal mechanisms do not require a deep or hot source.

So what are the arguments (A) quoted in support of the mantle plume as the standard model for the origin of flood basalts, and what are the counter arguments (C)?

A1. Very large volumes of magma.

C1. One must compare the observed rates with something. The absolute value by itself means nothing, particularly since it is trivial compared to the output of ridges, island arcs, and backarc basins, and modeling to date, using plumes or high temperatures, has not explained these volumes or rates.

The rate-limiting factor appears to be the  porous flow part, from the asthenosphere to the surface. If magma can be focused by the viscous equivalent of cracks and dikes then flow rates can be increased. If the ascending melt is impeded for long periods of time, and accumulates, then large volumes can be erupted quickly, once the diking condition is satified (i.e. the least compressive direction is horizontal). Prior to establishing this stress state in the plate, melts may pond or be stored in sills and magma chambers.

There are several opportunities for research and new thinking on athermal  mechanisms for concentrating flow and volcanic episodicity.

A2. Eruption during a very short time interval.

C2. The short time actually implies stress- or lithosphere-control, a valving action. Plume theorists have shown that in the plume model the timescale is controlled by the viscosity of the deep mantle and they get time scales of 10 Myr or longer. A stress mechanism can be instantaneous (a feature of Stokes flow). Global synchronism of volcanism also favors a stress explanation – one that involves a global plate reorganization.

A3. Rapid eruption of huge volumes of magma only occur in flood basalt provinces, and thus these events require a special explanation.

C3. This unique event can be a change in stress or a plate reorganization. EDGE- and rift-induced convection mechanisms are, by nature, episodic, and flux rates vary enormously so there may be no “event”, just as no causative event is responsible for a continent-continent collision or a ridge-trench annihilation or variations of eruption rates along volcanic chains (although these may be caused by stress variations). A mantle plume is often assumed to be necessary to get the volumes and rates but this is not consistent with published calculations (Richards et al. (1989) argue this way, but it is a circular argument). This is an intuitive, rather than a quantitative argument: “high volumes imply large degrees of melting and this requires high temperatures”. However, “midplate” volcanoes have a decreased melting column and other mechanisms such as fertility, volatiles, focusing, EDGE etc. are required either instead of, or in addition to, high temperatures, even in plume models. Low melting point (fertility) or an eclogite-rich source is an alternative to high absolute temperatures (the plume model).

A4. Only plumes can explain the volumes and very rapid eruption of LIPs.

C4. Some models certainly don't work but a simple assertion to this effect is not enough. Models must be tested. Usually, alternative models are not even considered. The recent literature suggests alternatives that may be viable, and follow up on earlier suggestions of a partially molten asthenosphere, a fertile source (eclogite, piclogite), focusing, EDGE convection, warming of midplate mantle by continental insulation, refertilization of the shallow mantle, ponded melt releases by stress control, diking, and so on.

A5. LIPs are often associated with time-progressive volcanic trails that are well-modeled as plume tails.

C5. Fewer than half of LIPs have even a postulated tail and even the most prominent examples are contentious (Sheth, 1999a,b; 2000, Burke, 1996, McHone, 1996, 1998, 2000) or admittedly ad hoc (Morgan, 1981). Also, there are equally voluminous siliceous eruptions unaccounted for in the plume-head theory. According to the Campbell-Griffiths plume hypothesis (which is based on hot fluid injection, rather than convection, experiments) every narrow Morgan-type plume must be accompanied by a warm bulbous plume head. Attempts have therefore been made to find a candidate plume head for every "hotspot" track, and vice versa. For example, both the Jan Mayen "hotspot" (actually a microcontinent with basalt flows on top) and Hawaii have been suggested as the "hotspot" responsible for the Siberian flood basalts and both the Ontong Java and Fiji plateaus have been assigned to the Louisville Ridge. "Missing" plume heads are often attributed to subduction, e.g. the Emperor seamount chain (which appears to have started on a ridge). These suggested associations and explanations are often speculative and mutually contradictory. The other side of the coin is that so-called tracks often correspond to pre-existing tectonic features.

A6. Hotspots often cross ridges, showing that a fixed plume underneath the plate is responsible.

C6. Plate reconstructions based on the fixed hotspot assumption have this feature but other plate reconstructions do not show ridges crossing hotspots (Morgan, 1981). Morgan pointed out that the plate reconstructions of others (including Molnar and Burke) were different from his in this way. The association of some "linear" volcanic features with CFB has been used to assert that the CFB is now separated by a ridge from the hotspot. However, these associations have been disputed. For example, it has been suggested that the Laccadive – Chagos – Rodrigues – Mauritius – Réunion or Deccan/Chagos – Laccadive/Reunion volcanic "lineation" (which it is not) or "hotspot track" is the "tail" associated with the Deccan "plume head".

Burke (1996) has argued strongly against this interpretation. He favors multiple small plumes, a common theme when age and spatial associations are not simple or as predicted. There is a volcanic hiatus of ~ 20 Myr and a clear volcano/structural change across the ridge which argues against the coherent-hotspot model. Bailey & Wooley (1995) also argue against a plume origin for the features on the African plate. There is also considerable doubt as to whether Réunion is a hotspot rather than a reactivated ridge. The island is located on the intersection of an abandoned ridge and a fracture zone, and between two other nearby fractures. It does not flex the lithosphere and has smaller volume and density than has been used in previous estimates of its total mass or buoyancy flux. It is not similar to Hawaii. The conjectured track of the Rénion "hotspot" (the Laccadive – Chagos – Rodrigues – Mauritius – Réunion or Deccan/Chagos – Laccadive/Réunion volcanic "track") is also unlike the Hawaiian, Emperor and Louisville volcanic chains.

Both Réunion and Mauritius appear to be related to pre-existing and subsequent tectonic features. They developed atop Paleocene fossil spreading centers and were carried away from each other by a fracture zone in between (Hirn, 2002). Click here for more on proposed plume "head-tail" associations.

A7. The geochemistry of LIP magmas is consistent with a plume origin. In particular, the elevated helium isotope ratios often observed indicate a lower-mantle source.

C7. This is the circular argument that, because Yellowstone, Hawaii and Iceland are products of a hot spot, then the elevated helium isotope ratios observed there must be produced in the lower mantle. In other words, by definition, the elevated ratios come from the lower mantle. The only reason elevated helium isotope ratios were associated with plumes in the first place was because such ratios were observed at Yellowstone, Iceland and Hawaii which were thought to result from plumes. It is important to remember what is an assumption and what is evidence. Reasonable models have been proposed for how high helium isotope ratios can arise from the upper mantle (see helium fundamentals page) and therefore they are not unambiguous indicators of plumes from the lower mantle

A8. The problem that thermal plumes cannot deliver the required volumes can be solved by adopting an aspect of the chemical plume model, i.e., a more fertile source. This is achieved by postulating that recycled oceanic crust that has been subducted into the lower mantle is swept up in rising peridotite plumes (e.g., Cordery et al., 1997). This can also explain the trace element characteristics of LIP basalts.

C8. The chemical plume model, and the eclogite and recycled-crustal models are not new, and are alternatives to deep, hot plumes. Introduction of eclogite into plumes was necessary to get large volumes of melt, but when this is done there is no longer need for plumes or a deep source. If the shallow mantle is close to the solidus of peridotite it will be near the liquidus of eclogite and melt can be created at “normal” mantle temperatures. A shallow fertile source is an alternative to plumes, and gives the necessary volumes in the absence of a high temperature anomaly.

A9. There is no geologic evidence for extension prior to the eruption of CFB.

C9. There is abundance evidence for extension, but usually not uplift, prior to volcanism. Dikes can also take up extension, but this is generally disregarded. Minor amounts of extension, with magma viscosities, is all that is needed to provide the volumes and rates from a fertile and partially molten mantle. Meter-wide dikes can certainly provide the necessary flow rates and this can be below geologic resolution for extension.

All of the arguments used in support of plumes and against alternative mechanisms have been widely discussed in the literature. There is little support for these arguments but they are constantly repeated, and new papers often quote earlier ones containing undiscussed repetitions. In order to progress we must critically assess the original sources of ideas, not simply repeat assertions, and to facilitate this an extensive bibliography is provided below:

References on CFB and other LIPs: non-hotspot processes

  • Anderson, D.L., The EDGES of the mantle, in The Core-Mantle Boundary Region, edited by M.E. Gurnis, E.K. Wysession, and B.A. Buffett, pp. 255-271, AGU,Washington, D. C., 1998.
  • Bailey. D.K. and Woolley, A.R., Magnetic quiet periods and stable continental magmatism: can there be a plume dimension? in Anderson, D.L., Hart, S.R., and Hofmann,A.W., Convenors, Plume 2, Terra Nostra, 3/1995, 15-19, Alfred-Wegener-Stiftung, Bonn, 1995.
  • Czamanske, G.K., Demise of the Siberian plume: Paleogeographic and paleotectonic reconstruction from the prevolcanic and volcanic records, north-central Siberia, Int. Geol. Rev., 40, 95-115, 1998.
  • Favela, J., and D.L. Anderson, Extensional tectonics and global volcanism, in Editrice Compositori, edited by E. Boschi, G. Ekstrom, and A. Morelli, pp. 463-498, Bologna, Italy, 1999.
  • Hirn, A., Réunion (Indian Ocean) Oceanic Island Volcanism: Seismic Structure and Heterogeneity of the Upper Lithosphere, EOS Trans. AGU Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract, 83, S72C-03, 2002.
  • McHone, J.G., Constraints on the mantle plume model for Mesozoic alkaline intrusions in northeastern North America, Can. Min., 34, 325-334, 1996.
  • McHone, J.G., Comment on Opening of the central Atlantic and asymmetric mantle upwelling phenomena: Implications for long-lived magmatism in western North Africa and Europe, Geology, 26, 282, 1998.
  • McHone, J.G., Non-plume magmatism and tectonics during the opening of the central Atlantic ocean, Tectonophysics, 316, 287-296, 2000.
  • Richter, F.M., Convection and the large-scale circulation of the mantle, J. Geophys. Res., 78, 8735-8745, 1973.
  • Richter, F.M., and B. Parsons, On the interaction of two modes of convection in the mantle, J. Geophys. Res., 80, 2529-2541, 1975.
  • Sheth, H.C., Flood basalts and large igneous provinces from deep mantle plumes: fact, fiction, and fallacy, Tectonophysics, 311, 1-29, 1999.
  • Sheth, H.C., The timing of crustal extension, diking, and the eruption of the Deccan flood basalts, Int. Geol. Rev., 42, 1007-1016, 2000.
  • Sheth, H.C., I.S. Torres-Alvarado, and S.P. Verma, Beyond subduction and plumes: A unified tectonic-petrogenetic model for the Mexican volcanic belt, Int. Geol. Rev., 42, 1116-1132, 2000.
  • Sheth, H. C., A historical approach to continental flood basalt volcanism: insights into pre-volcanic rifting, sedimentation, and early alkaline magmatism, Earth planet. Sci. Lett., 168, 19-26, 1999.
  • Smith, A.D., A re-appraisal of stress field and convective roll models for the origin and distribution of Cretaceous to Recent intraplate volcanism in the Pacific basin, Int. Geol. Rev., 45, in press, 2003.
  • Smith, A.D., Intraplate volcanism: concepts, problems and proofs, Astron. Geophys., 44, 2.8 -2.9, 2003.
  • Tanton, L.T.E. and B.H. Hager, Melt intrusion as a trigger for lithospheric foundering and the eruption of the Siberian flood basalts, Geophys. Res. Lett., 27, 3937-3940, 2000.
  • Vogt, P.R., Bermuda and Appalachian-Labrador rises: Common non-hotspot processes?, Geology, 19, 41-44, 1991.

References on helium isotopes and the helium paradoxes

CFB are not underlain by hot plume heads

  • Anderson, D. L., Tanimoto, T., and Zhang, Y. -S., 1992a, Plate tectonics, and hotspots: The third dimension: Science, 256, 1645-1650.
  • Anderson, D. L., Zhang, Y. -S., and Tanimoto, T., 1992b, Plume heads, continental lithosphere, flood basalts, and tomography, in Storey, B. C., Alabaster, T., and Pankhurst, R. J., eds., Magmatism and the Causes of Continental Break-up: Geol. Soc. (London) Spec. Publ. 68, 99-124.
  • Tanimoto, T., Predominance of large-scale heterogeneity and the shift of velocity anomalies between the upper and lower mantle, J. Phys. of the Earth, 38, 493, 1990.

Thermal plumes cannot explain the volumes or rates of CFB magmatism

  • Cordery, M. J., Davies, G. F., and Campbell, I. H., 1997, Genesis of flood basalts from eclogite-bearing mantle plumes: J. Geophys. Res., 102, 20,179-20, 1997.
  • Farnetani, C.G., Excess temperature of mantle plumes: the role of chemical stratification across D", Geophys. Res. Lett., 24, 1583-1586, 1996.
  • Farnetani, C.G., and M.A. Richards, Numerical investigations of the mantle plume initiation model for flood basalt events, J. Geophys. Res., 99, 13,813-13,833, 1994.
  • Richards, M. A., Duncan, R. A., Courtillot, V. E., Flood basalts and hotspot tracks: plume heads and tails, Science, 246, 103-107, 1989.
  • Tanton, L.T.E., and Hager, B.H., Melt intrusion as a trigger for lithospheric foundering and the eruption of the Siberian flood basalts, Geophys. Res. Lett., 27, 3937-3940, 2000.

Athermal mechanisms of CFB magmatism

  • Favela, J., and D.L. Anderson, Extensional tectonics and global volcanism, in Editrice Compositori, edited by E. Boschi, G. Ekstrom, and A. Morelli, pp. 463-498, Bologna, Italy, 1999.
  • Holbrook, W.S. and Kelemen, P.B., Large igneous province on the U.S. Atlantic margin and implications for magmatism during continental breakup, Nature, 364, 433-436, 1993.
  • Lameyre, J., Black, R., Bonin, B. and Giret, A., The magmatic provinces of eastern America, West Africa, and Kerguelen: indications for a tectonic control of within-plate magmatism triggered from above and associated processes, Annals of the Soc. Geology Nord, CIII, 101-114, 1984.
  • Sleep, N.H., Tapping of magmas from ubiquitous mantle heterogeneities: An alternative to mantle plumes?, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 10,029-10,041, 1984.
  • Smith, A. D., Back-arc convection model for Columbia River basalt genesis: Tectonophysics, 207, 269-285, 1992.
  • Smith, A. D., The continental mantle as a source for hotspot volcanism: Terra Nova, 5, 452-460, 1993.
  • Vogt, P.R., Bermuda and Appalachian-Labrador rises: Common non-hotspot processes? Geology, 19, 41-44, 1991.
  • Yaxley, G. M., Experimental study of the phase and melting relations of homogeneous basalt + peridotite mixtures and implications for the petrogenesis of flood basalts, Contrib. Mineral. Petrol., 139, 326-338, 2000.

Tectonic explanations of CFB

  • Bailey, D. K., Episodic alkaline igneous activity across Africa: implications for the causes of continental break-up, in Storey, B. C., Alabaster, T., and Pankhurst, R. J., eds., Magmatism and the Causes of Continental Break-up: Geol. Soc. London Spec. Pub. 68, 91-98, 1992.
  • Bailey. D.K. and Woolley, A.R., Magnetic quiet periods and stable continental magmatism: can there be a plume dimension? in Anderson, D.L., Hart, S.R., and Hofmann, A.W., Convenors, Plume 2, Terra Nostra, 3/1995, 15-19, Alfred-Wegener-Stiftung, Bonn, 1995.
  • Burke, K. C., The African plate, S. Afr. J. Geol., 99, 341-409, 1996.
  • Czamanske, G. K., Gurevich, A. B., Fedorenko, V., and Simonov, O., Demise of the Siberian plume: paleogeographic and paleotectonic reconstruction from the prevolcanic and volcanic records, North-Central Siberia, Int. Geol. Rev., 40, 95-115, 1998.
  • McHone, J.G., Volatile emissions of Central Atlantic Magmatic Province basalts: Mass assumptions and environmental consequences, in Hames, W.E., McHone, J.G., Renne, P.R., and Ruppel, C., editors, The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province: AGU, Geophysical Monograph 136, p. 241-254, 2002.
  • McHone, J. G., Non-plume magmatism and tectonics during the opening of the central Atlantic Ocean, Tectonophysics, 316, 287-296, 2000.
  • McHone, J.G., Comment on Opening of the central Atlantic and asymmetric mantle upwelling phenomena: Implications for long-lived magmatism in western North Africa and Europe, Geology, 26, 282, 1998.
  • McHone, J. G., Constraints on the mantle plume model for Mesozoic alkaline intrusions in northeastern North America: Can. Min., 34, 325-334, 1996.
  • McHone, J.G., Broad-terrane Jurassic flood basalts across northeastern North America, Geology, 24, 319-322, 1996.
  • McHone, J.G. and Shake, S.N., Structural control of Mesozoic magmatism in New England, in Mason, R., ed., Basement Tectonics 7, Boston, Kluwer Academic, 399-407, 1992.
  • McHone, J.G., Tectonic and paleostress patterns of Mesozoic intrusions in eastern North America, in Manspeizer, W.R., ed., Triassic-Jurassic Rifting: Continental Breakup and the Origin of the Atlantic Ocean and Passive Margins, Part B: New York, Elsevier, 607-619, 1988.
  • McHone, J.G. and Butler, J.R., Mesozoic igneous provinces of New England and the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean, Geol. Soc. Am. Bull., 95, 757-765, 1984.
  • McHone, J.G., Mesozoic igneous rocks of northern New England and adjacent Quebec, Geol. Soc. Am., Map and Chart Series MC-49, scale 1:690,000, 5 p. + text, 1984.
  • Sheth, H. C., A historical approach to continental flood basalt volcanism: insights into pre-volcanic rifting, sedimentation, and early alkaline magmatism, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 168, 19-26, 1999a.
  • Sheth, H. C., Flood basalts and large igneous provinces from deep mantle plumes: fact, fiction, and fallacy, Tectonophysics, 311, 1-29, 1999b.
  • Sheth, H. C., The timing of crustal extension, diking, and the eruption of the Deccan flood basalts. Int. Geol. Rev., 42, 1007-1016, 2000.
  • Smith, A. D., The continental mantle as a source for hotspot volcanism, Terra Nova, 5, 452-460, 1993.
  • Smith, A. D., Lewis, C., The planet beyond the plume hypothesis, Earth Sci. Rev., 42, 135-182, 1999.

EDGE- and rift-induced convection as an explanation for CFB

  • Anderson, D.L., The EDGES of the mantle, in: M. Gurnis, M.E. Wysession, E. Knittle, B.A. Buffet (Eds.), The Core-Mantle Boundary Region, Geodynamics 28, AGU, Washington, D.C, 255-271, 1998.
  • Boutilier, R. and C.E. Keen, Small scale convection and divergent plate boundaries, J. Geophys. Res., 104, 7389-7403, 1999.
  • King, S.D., and D.L. Anderson, An alternative mechanism of flood basalt formation, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 136, 269-279, 1995.
  • King, S.D., and D.L. Anderson, Edge-driven convection, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 160, 289-296, 1998.
  • Korenaga, J., Magmatism and dynamics of continental breakup in the presence of a mantle plume, Ph. D. Thesis, M.I.T., Cambridge, 2000.
  • Korenaga, J. and P.B. Kelemen, Major element heterogeneity in the mantle source of the north Atlantic igneous province, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 184, 251-268, 2000.
  • Lowman, J. P., G. T. Jarvis, Mantle Convection Flow Reversals Due to Continental Collisions, Geophys. Res. Lett., 20, 2087, 1993.
  • Lowman, J. P., G. T. Jarvis, Effects of mantle heat source distribution on supercontinent stability, J. Geophys. Res., 104, 12,733, 1999.
  • Mutter, J. C., Buck, W. R., and Zehnder, C. M., Convective partial melting 1. A model for the formation of thick basaltic sequences during the initiation of spreading: J. Geophys. Res., 93, 1031-1048, 1988.

Stress controls magmatism

  • Acton, G. D., S. Stein, and J. F. Engeln, Block rotation and continental extension in Afar: a comparison to oceanic microplate systems, Tectonics, 10, 501-526, 1991.
  • Anderson-Fontana, S., J. F. Engeln, P. Lundgren, R. L. Larson, and S. Stein, Tectonics and evolution of the Juan Fernandez microplate at the Pacific-Nazca-Antarctic triple junction, J. Geophys. Res., 91, 2005-2018, 1986.
  • Duncan, R. A., Hooper, P. R., Rehacek, J., Marsh, J. S., and Duncan, A. R., The timing and duration of the Karoo igneous event: J. Geophys. Res., 102, 18,127-18,138, 1997.
  • Fedorenko, A., Paleotectonics of Late Paleozoic-Early Mesozoic volcanism in the Noril'sk region, and paleotectonic controls on the distribution of Ni-bearing intrusions, in Pogrebitsky, Yu. Ye., ed., Geology and Ore Deposits of the Taymyr-Nortland Folding Belt: NIIGA, Leningrad, 16-23, 1979 (in Russian).
  • Fedorenko, A., Tectonic control of magmatism and regularities of Ni-bearing localities on the northwestern Siberian platform: Soviet Geol. Geophys., 32, 41-47, 1991.
  • Fedorenko, A., Lightfoot, P. C., Naldrett, A. J., Czamanske, G. K., Hawkesworth, C. J., Wooden, J. L., and Ebel, D. S., Petrogenesis of the Siberian flood-basalt sequence at Noril'sk: Int. Geol. Rev., 38, 99-135, 1996.
  • McNutt, M. K., D. W. Caress, J. Reynolds, K. A. Jordahl, R. A. Duncan, Failure of plume theory to explain midplate volcanism in the southern Austral islands, Nature, 389, 479, 1997.
  • Miller, S. A., A. Nur, Permeability as a toggle switch in fluid-controlled crustal processes, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 183, 133, 2000.
  • Moreau, C., Regnoult, J.-M., Déruelle, B., and Robineau, B., A new tectonic model for the Cameroon line, central Africa, Tectonophysics, 141, 317-334, 1987.
  • Nakamura, K., Volcanoes as possible indicators of tectonic stress orientation - principle and proposal, J. Volc. Geotherm. Res., 2, 1-16, 1977.
  • Rona, P., E. Richardson, Early Cenozoic global plate reorganization, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 40, 1-11, 1978.
  • Rubin, A., Propagation of Magma-filled cracks, Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 43, 287-336, 1995.
  • Sykes, L.R., Intraplate seismicity, reactivation of preexisting zones of weakness, alkaline magmatism, and other tectonism post-dating continental fragmentation, Rev. Geophys. Space Physics, 16, 621-688, 1978.

Conventional thermal plume models

  • Burke, K. C., The African plate, S. Afr. J. Geol., 99, 341-409, 1996.
  • Courtillot. V., Jaupart, C., Manighetti, I., Tapponnier, P., and Besse, J., On causal links between flood basalts and continental breakup, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 166, 177-195, 1999.
  • Cordery, M. J., Davies, G. F., and Campbell, I. H., Genesis of flood basalts from eclogite-bearing mantle plumes: J. Geophys. Res., 102, 20,179-20, 1997.
  • Crough, S.T., Mesozoic hotspot epeirogeny in eastern North America, Geology, 9, 2-6, 1981.
  • DePaolo, D. and M. Manga, Deep origin of hotspots - Is only seeing believing?, Science, 300, 2003
  • Duncan, R.A., Age-progressive volcanism in the New England seamounts and the opening of the central Atlantic Ocean, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 9980-9990, 1984.
  • Farnetani, C.G., Excess temperature of mantle plumes: the role of chemical stratification across D", Geophys. Res. Lett., 24, 1583-1586, 1996.
  • Farnetani, C.G., and M.A. Richards, Numerical investigations of the mantle plume initiation model for flood basalt events, J. Geophys. Res., 99, 13,813-13,833, 1994.
  • Griffiths, R. W., and Campbell, I. H., Interaction of mantle plume heads with the Earth's surface and onset of small-scale convection: J. Geophys. Res., 96, 18,295-18,310, 1991.
  • Hill, R.I., Starting plumes and continental break-up, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 104, 398-416, 1991.
  • Larson, R. L., Latest pulse of Earth - Evidence for a Midcretaceous superplume, Geology, 19, 547, 1991.
  • Lee, Der-Chuen, Halliday, A.N., Fitton, J.G. and Poli, G., Isotopic variations with distance and time in the volcanic islands of the Cameroon line: Evidence for a mantle plume origin, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 123, 119-138, 1994.
  • Leitch, A.M., Davies, G.F., and Wells, M., A plume head melting under a rifting margin, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 161, 161-177, 1998.
  • Morgan, W.J., Hotspot tracks and the opening of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, in The Oceanic Lithosphere, ed. C.Emiliani, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1981,  p.443-488.
  • Morgan, W.J., Hotspot tracks and the early rifting of the Atlantic, Tectonophysics, 94, 123-139, 1983.
  • Olsen, P. E., Giant lava flows, mass extinctions, and mantle plumes, Science, 284, 604-605, 1999
  • Richards, M. A., Duncan, R. A., Courtillot, V. E., Flood basalts and hotspot tracks: plume heads and tails, Science, 246, 103-107, 1989.
  • Sleep. N.H., Monteregian hotspot track: A long-lived mantle plume, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 21,983-21,990, 1990.
  • Wilson, M., Thermal evolution of the Central Atlantic passive margins: Continental break-up above a Mesozoic super-plume, J. Geol. Soc. Lond., 154, 491-495, 1997.

last updated 4th November, 2005

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