If Shakespeare Were a Geologist!
The Plume soliloquy


Paul Maddock
Birckbeck College, University of London

To Plume, or not to Plume – that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mantle to suffer the Rises and Falls of outrageous Convection
Or to take Geophysics against a sea of Plumists and by opposing question them.
To deplete, to melt – No more – and by a melt to say we end
The debate, and the thousand natural plumes that OIB is heir to.
'Tis an enrichment devoutly to be wished.
To deplete, to melt – to melt – perchance to fractionate: ay, there's the magma,
For in that melt of mantle what fractionation may come
When we have depleted off this mantle rock, must give us basalt.
Where's the plume that makes debate of so long life.
For who would bear the geophysicists and scorns of geologists,
Th' anti-plumist wrong, the plumist man's contumely
The plums of mantle love, the D'' layer,
The insolence of 650 km discontinuity,
And the spurns that lithospheric merit of th' argument takes,
When he himself might his enrichment make with a subducted slab?
Who would isotope ratios bear, to plume and melt under a weary lithosphere,

But that the dread of something after depletion,
The undiscovered OIB source, from whose depth no slab returns,
Puzzles the geologist, and makes us rather bear those plumists we have
Than fly to anti-plumists that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make plumists of us all,
And thus the mantle hue of peridotite is heated o'er with the pale cast of plumes,
And enterprise of great thought and experiment
With this regard their theories turn awry and lose the name of plumes.
– Soft you now,
The fair undergraduate! – Confused, in thy orisons
Be all my plumes remembered.