Hotspot (geology)

Hotspot (geology)

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The places known as hotspots or hot spots in geology are volcanic regions thought to be fed by underlying mantle
Mantle (geology)
The mantle is a part of a terrestrial planet or other rocky body large enough to have differentiation by density. The interior of the Earth, similar to the other terrestrial planets, is chemically divided into layers. The mantle is a highly viscous layer between the crust and the outer core....

 that is anomalously hot compared with the mantle elsewhere. They may be on, near to, or far from tectonic plate boundaries. There are two hypotheses to explain them. One suggests that they are due to hot mantle plume
Mantle plume
A mantle plume is a hypothetical thermal diapir of abnormally hot rock that nucleates at the core-mantle boundary and rises through the Earth's mantle. Such plumes were invoked in 1971 to explain volcanic regions that were not thought to be explicable by the then-new theory of plate tectonics. Some...

s that rise as thermal diapir
Diapir
A diapir is a type of intrusion in which a more mobile and ductily-deformable material is forced into brittle overlying rocks. Depending on the tectonic environment, diapirs can range from idealized mushroom-shaped Rayleigh-Taylor instability-type structures in regions with low tectonic stress...

s from the core-mantle boundary. The other hypothesis postulates that it is not high temperature that causes the volcanism
Volcanism
Volcanism is the phenomenon connected with volcanoes and volcanic activity. It includes all phenomena resulting from and causing magma within the crust or mantle of a planet to rise through the crust and form volcanic rocks on the surface....

, but lithospheric extension that permits the passive rising of melt from shallow depths. This hypothesis considers the term "hotspot" to be a misnomer, asserting that the mantle source beneath them is, in fact, not anomalously hot at all.

Background



The origins of the concept of hotspots lie in the work of J. Tuzo Wilson, who postulated in 1963 that the Hawaiian Islands
Hawaiian Islands
The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and undersea seamounts in the North Pacific Ocean, extending some 1,500 miles from the island of Hawaii in the south to northernmost Kure Atoll...

 result from the slow movement of a tectonic plate across a hot region beneath the surface. It was later postulated that hotspots are fed by narrow streams of hot
Heat
In physics and thermodynamics, heat is energy transferred from one body, region, or thermodynamic system to another due to thermal contact or thermal radiation when the systems are at different temperatures. It is often described as one of the fundamental processes of energy transfer between...

 mantle
Mantle (geology)
The mantle is a part of a terrestrial planet or other rocky body large enough to have differentiation by density. The interior of the Earth, similar to the other terrestrial planets, is chemically divided into layers. The mantle is a highly viscous layer between the crust and the outer core....

 rising from the Earth's core-mantle boundary
Core-mantle boundary
The core–mantle boundary lies between the Earth's silicate mantle and its liquid iron-nickel outer core. This boundary is located at approximately 2900 km of depth beneath the Earth's surface. The boundary is observed via the discontinuity in seismic wave velocities at that depth...

 in a structure called a mantle plume
Mantle plume
A mantle plume is a hypothetical thermal diapir of abnormally hot rock that nucleates at the core-mantle boundary and rises through the Earth's mantle. Such plumes were invoked in 1971 to explain volcanic regions that were not thought to be explicable by the then-new theory of plate tectonics. Some...

. Whether or not such mantle plumes exist is currently the subject of a major controversy in Earth science. Estimates for the numbers of hotspots postulated to be fed by mantle plumes has ranged from about 20 to several thousands, over the years, with most geologists considering a few tens to exist. Hawaii
Hawaii hotspot
The Hawaii hotspot is the volcanic hotspot that created the Hawaiian Islands in the central Pacific Ocean, and is one of Earth's best-known and most heavily-studied hotspots....

, Réunion
Réunion hotspot
The Réunion hotspot is a volcanic hotspot which currently lies under the Island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The Chagos-Laccadive Ridge and the southern part of the Mascarene Plateau are volcanic traces of the Réunion hotspot....

, Yellowstone
Yellowstone hotspot
The Yellowstone hotspot, also referred to as the Snake River Plain-Yellowstone hotspot, is a volcanic hotspot responsible for large scale volcanism in Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, and Wyoming, United States. It created the eastern Snake River Plain through a succession of caldera forming eruptions...

, Galápagos
Galápagos hotspot
The Galápagos hotspot is a volcanic hotspot in the East Pacific Ocean responsible for the creation of the Galapagos Islands as well as three major aseismic ridge systems, Carnegie, Cocos and Malpelso which are on two tectonic plates. The hotspot is located near the Equator on the Nazca Plate not...

, and Iceland
Iceland hotspot
The Iceland hotspot is a hotspot which is partly responsible for the high volcanic activity which has formed the island of Iceland.-Description:...

 are some of the most currently active volcanic regions to which the hypothesis is applied.

Most hotspot volcanoes are basaltic (e.g., Hawaii, Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

). As a result, they are less explosive than subduction zone volcanoes, in which water is trapped under the overriding plate. Where hotspots occur in continental regions
Continental crust
The continental crust is the layer of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks which form the continents and the areas of shallow seabed close to their shores, known as continental shelves. This layer is sometimes called sial due to more felsic, or granitic, bulk composition, which lies in...

, basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

ic magma
Magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

 rises through the continental crust, which melts to form rhyolite
Rhyolite
This page is about a volcanic rock. For the ghost town see Rhyolite, Nevada, and for the satellite system, see Rhyolite/Aquacade.Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition . It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic...

s. These rhyolite
Rhyolite
This page is about a volcanic rock. For the ghost town see Rhyolite, Nevada, and for the satellite system, see Rhyolite/Aquacade.Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition . It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic...

s can form violent eruptions. For example, the Yellowstone Caldera
Yellowstone Caldera
The Yellowstone Caldera is the volcanic caldera located in Yellowstone National Park in the United States, sometimes referred to as the Yellowstone Supervolcano. The caldera is located in the northwest corner of Wyoming, in which the vast majority of the park is contained. The major features of...

 was formed by some of the most powerful volcanic explosions in geologic history. However, when the rhyolite is completely erupted, it may be followed by eruptions of basaltic magma rising through the same lithospheric cracks. An example of this activity is the Ilgachuz Range
Ilgachuz Range
The Ilgachuz Range is a name given to an extinct shield volcano in British Columbia, Canada. It is not a mountain range in the normal sense, because it was formed as a single volcano that has been eroded for the past 5 million years. It lies on the Chilcotin Plateau, located some north-northwest...

 in British Columbia, which was created by an early complex series of trachyte
Trachyte
Trachyte is an igneous volcanic rock with an aphanitic to porphyritic texture. The mineral assemblage consists of essential alkali feldspar; relatively minor plagioclase and quartz or a feldspathoid such as nepheline may also be present....

 and rhyolite
Rhyolite
This page is about a volcanic rock. For the ghost town see Rhyolite, Nevada, and for the satellite system, see Rhyolite/Aquacade.Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition . It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic...

 eruptions, and late extrusion of a sequence of basaltic lava flows.

The hotspot hypothesis is now closely linked to the mantle plume
Mantle plume
A mantle plume is a hypothetical thermal diapir of abnormally hot rock that nucleates at the core-mantle boundary and rises through the Earth's mantle. Such plumes were invoked in 1971 to explain volcanic regions that were not thought to be explicable by the then-new theory of plate tectonics. Some...

 hypothesis.

Comparison with island arc volcanoes


Hotspot volcanoes are considered to have a fundamentally different origin from island arc
Island arc
An island arc is a type of archipelago composed of a chain of volcanoes which alignment is arc-shaped, and which are situated parallel and close to a boundary between two converging tectonic plates....

 volcanoes. The latter form over subduction
Subduction
In geology, subduction is the process that takes place at convergent boundaries by which one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate, sinking into the Earth's mantle, as the plates converge. These 3D regions of mantle downwellings are known as "Subduction Zones"...

 zones, at converging plate boundaries. When one oceanic plate meets another, the denser plate is forced downward into a deep ocean trench. This plate, as it is subducted, releases water into the base of the over-riding plate, and this water causes some rock to melt. It is this that fuels a chain of volcanoes, such as the Aleutian Islands, near Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

.

Hotspot volcanic chains


The joint mantle plume
Mantle plume
A mantle plume is a hypothetical thermal diapir of abnormally hot rock that nucleates at the core-mantle boundary and rises through the Earth's mantle. Such plumes were invoked in 1971 to explain volcanic regions that were not thought to be explicable by the then-new theory of plate tectonics. Some...

/hotspot hypothesis envisages the feeder structures to be fixed relative to one another, with the continents and seafloor drifting overhead. The hypothesis thus predicts that time-progressive chains of volcanoes are developed on the surface. Examples are Yellowstone, which lies at the end of a chain of extinct calderas, which become progressively older to the west. Another example is the Hawaiian archipelago, where islands become progressively older and more deeply eroded to the northwest.

Geologists have tried to use hotspot volcanic chains to track the movement of the Earth's tectonic plates. This effort has been vexed by the lack of very long chains, by the fact that many are not time-progressive (e.g. the Galápagos
Galápagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed around the equator in the Pacific Ocean, west of continental Ecuador, of which they are a part.The Galápagos Islands and its surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province, a national park, and a...

) and by the fact that hotspots do not appear to be fixed relative to one-another (e.g., Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 and Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

.)

Postulated hotspot volcano chains



  • Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
    Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
    The Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain is composed of the Hawaiian ridge, consisting of the islands of the Hawaiian chain northwest to Kure Atoll, and the Emperor Seamounts, a vast underwater mountain region of islands and intervening seamounts, atolls, shallows, banks and reefs along a line trending...

     (Hawaii hotspot
    Hawaii hotspot
    The Hawaii hotspot is the volcanic hotspot that created the Hawaiian Islands in the central Pacific Ocean, and is one of Earth's best-known and most heavily-studied hotspots....

    )
  • Louisville seamount chain
    Louisville seamount chain
    The Louisville seamount chain is an underwater chain of over 70 seamounts in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. One of the longest seamount chains on Earth, it stretches some 4,300 kilometres from the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge ENE to the Tonga-Kermadec Trench, where it subducts under the...

     (Louisville hotspot
    Louisville hotspot
    The Louisville hotspot is a volcanic hotspot responsible for the volcanic activity that has formed the Louisville seamount chain in the southern Pacific Ocean.-Location:...

    )
  • Walvis Ridge
    Walvis Ridge
    Walvis Ridge is an ocean ridge in the southern Atlantic Ocean, extending for thousands of miles, off the coast of southwest Africa. Both it and the Rio Grande Rise originated from hotspot volcanism now occurring at the islands of Tristan da Cunha , 300 kilometres east of the crest of the...

     (Gough and Tristan hotspot
    Tristan hotspot
    The Tristan hotspot is a volcanic hotspot which is responsible for the volcanic activity which forms the volcanoes in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is thought to have formed the island of Tristan da Cunha and the Walvis Ridge on the African Plate....

    )
  • Kodiak–Bowie Seamount chain (Bowie hotspot
    Bowie hotspot
    The Bowie hotspot is a volcanic hotspot, located west of the Queen Charlotte Islands in the Pacific Ocean.Almost all magma created by the hotspot has the composition of basalt, and so the volcanoes are constructed almost entirely of this igneous rock...

    )
  • Cobb-Eickelberg Seamount chain
    Cobb-Eickelberg Seamount chain
    The Cobb-Eickelberg Seamount chain is a seamount chain stretching from the Aleutian Trench in the north to Axial Seamount, the youngest volcano in the chain, which lies approximately 300 miles west of Cannon Beach, Oregon. The chain was created by the Cobb hotspot as the Pacific Plate drifted in a...

     (Cobb hotspot
    Cobb hotspot
    The Cobb hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located off the Oregon/Washington coast of the United States. The hotspot is at the Juan de Fuca Ridge, and has made the Cobb-Eickelberg Seamount chain...

    )
  • New England Seamount chain
    New England Seamount chain
    The New England Seamount chain is an underwater chain of seamounts in the Atlantic Ocean stretching over 1,000 kilometers from the edge of the Georges Bank off the coast of Massachusetts. The chain consists of over twenty extinct volcanic peaks, many rising over 4,000 meters from the seabed...

     (New England hotspot
    New England hotspot
    The New England hotspot, also referred to as the Great Meteor hotspot, is a long-lived volcanic hotspot in the Atlantic Ocean. The hotspot's most recent eruptive center is the Great Meteor Seamount, and it probably created a short line of mid to late-Tertiary age seamounts on the African Plate but...

    )
  • Anahim Volcanic Belt
    Anahim Volcanic Belt
    The Anahim Volcanic Belt is a long volcanic belt, stretching from just north of Vancouver Island to near Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada. The Anahim Volcanic Belt has had three main magmatic episodes: 15–13 Ma, 9–6 Ma, and 3–1 Ma. The volcanoes generally become younger eastward at a rate of to ...

     (Anahim hotspot
    Anahim hotspot
    The Anahim hotspot is a volcanic hotspot in central British Columbia, Canada. It is situated on the Interior Plateau, a large region that lies between the Cariboo and Monashee Mountains to the east, and the Hazelton Mountains, Coast Mountains and Cascade Range to the west...

    )
  • Mackenzie dike swarm
    Mackenzie dike swarm
    The Mackenzie dike swarm, also called the Mackenzie dikes, form a large igneous province in the western Canadian Shield of Canada. It is part of the larger Mackenzie Large Igneous Province and is one of more than three dozen dike swarms in various parts of the Canadian Shield...

     (Mackenzie hotspot
    Mackenzie hotspot
    The Mackenzie hotspot was a volcanic hotspot that existed about 1,267 million years ago across Canada from the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. It is responsible for the creation of the Mackenzie Large Igneous Province, which contains the largest dike swarm on Earth...

    )
  • Great Meteor hotspot track
    Great Meteor hotspot track
    The Great Meteor hotspot track, also referred to as the New England hotspot track, is a vast hotspot track in the Northern Hemisphere, stretching over from Nunavut in Northern Canada to the northern Atlantic Ocean...

     (New England hotspot
    New England hotspot
    The New England hotspot, also referred to as the Great Meteor hotspot, is a long-lived volcanic hotspot in the Atlantic Ocean. The hotspot's most recent eruptive center is the Great Meteor Seamount, and it probably created a short line of mid to late-Tertiary age seamounts on the African Plate but...

    )
  • St. Helena Seamount Chain - Cameroon Volcanic Line (Saint Helena hotspot)
  • Southern Mascarene Plateau
    Mascarene Plateau
    The Mascarene Plateau is an submarine plateau in the Indian Ocean, north and east of Madagascar. The plateau extends approximately 2000 km, from the Seychelles in the north to Réunion in the south. The plateau covers an area of over 115,000 km² of shallow water, with depths ranging from...

    –Chagos-Maldives-Laccadive Ridge (Réunion hotspot
    Réunion hotspot
    The Réunion hotspot is a volcanic hotspot which currently lies under the Island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The Chagos-Laccadive Ridge and the southern part of the Mascarene Plateau are volcanic traces of the Réunion hotspot....

    )
  • Ninety East Ridge
    Ninety East Ridge
    The Ninety East Ridge is a linear, aseismic, age-progressive seamount chain in the Indian Ocean and is named for its near-parallel strike along the 90th meridian...

     (Kerguelen hotspot
    Kerguelen hotspot
    The Kerguelen hotspot is a volcanic hotspot at the Kerguelen Plateau in the Southern Indian Ocean. The Kerguelen hotspot has produced basaltic lava for about 130 million years and has also produced the Kerguelen Islands, Heard Island, the McDonald Islands, and the Ninetyeast Ridge....

    ?)
  • Tuamotu
    Tuamotus
    The Tuamotus or the Tuamotu Archipelago are a chain of islands and atolls in French Polynesia. They form the largest chain of atolls in the world, spanning an area of the Pacific Ocean roughly the size of Western Europe...

    Line
    Line Islands
    The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands, is a chain of eleven atolls and low coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands, that stretches for 2,350 km in a northwest-southeast direction, making it one of the longest islands chains of the world...

     Island chain (Crough hotspot, it is probably not a hotspot trail)
  • Austral
    Austral Islands
    The Austral Islands are the southernmost group of islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the South Pacific. Geographically, they consist of two separate archipelagos, namely in the northwest the Tubuai Islands consisting of the Îles Maria, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai...

    Gilbert
    Gilbert Islands
    The Gilbert Islands are a chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are the main part of Republic of Kiribati and include Tarawa, the site of the country's capital and residence of almost half of the population.-Geography:The atolls and islands of the Gilbert Islands...

    Marshall
    Marshall Islands
    The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

     chain (Macdonald hotspot
    Macdonald hotspot
    The Macdonald hotspot is a volcanic hotspot in the southern Pacific Ocean. The hotspot was responsible for the formation of the Macdonald Seamount, and possibly the Austral-Cook Islands chain. It is named after Gordon Macdonald....

    )
  • Juan Fernández Ridge
    Juan Fernández Ridge
    The Juan Fernández Ridge is a volcanic island and seamount chain on the Nazca Plate. It runs in a west-east direction from the Juan Fernández hotspot to the Peru-Chile Trench at a latitude of 33° S near Valparaíso. The Juan Fernández Islands are the only seamounts that reach the surface....

     (Juan Fernández hotspot
    Juan Fernández hotspot
    The Juan Fernández hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. The hotspot created the Juan Fernández Ridge which includes the Juan Fernández Archipelago and a long seamount chain that is being subducted in the Peru-Chile Trench at the site of Papudo giving origin to...

    )

List of volcanic regions postulated to be hotspots




Eurasian Plate

  • Eifel hotspot
    Eifel hotspot
    The Eifel hotspot is a volcanic hotspot which is responsible for the volcanic activity which forms the volcanoes in Western Germany of northwestern Europe. It is thought to have formed the Eifel volcanic field....

     (8)
    • 50.2°N 6.7°W, w= 1 az= 082° ±8° rate= 12 ±2 mm/yr
  • Iceland hotspot
    Iceland hotspot
    The Iceland hotspot is a hotspot which is partly responsible for the high volcanic activity which has formed the island of Iceland.-Description:...

     (14)
    • 64.4°N 17.3°W
      • Eurasian Plate, w= .8 az= 075° ±10° rate= 5 ±3 mm/yr
      • North American Plate, w= .8 az= 287° ±10° rate= 15 ±5 mm/yr
    • Possibly related to the North Atlantic continental rifting (62 Ma), Greenland
      Greenland
      Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

      .
  • Azores hotspot
    Azores hotspot
    The Azores hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located at the Azores in the northern Atlantic Ocean. It has interactions with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which lies just west of the hotspot.-References:**...

     (1)
    • 37.9°N 26.0°W
      • Eurasian Plate, w= .5 az= 110° ±12°
      • North American Plate, w= .3 az= 280° ±15°
  • Jan Mayen hotspot
    Jan Mayen hotspot
    The Jan Mayen hotspot is a volcanic hotspot responsible for the volcanic activity that has formed the island of Jan Mayen in the northern Atlantic Ocean.-See also:*Beerenberg volcano...

     (15)
    • 71°N 9°W
  • Hainan
    Hainan
    Hainan is the smallest province of the People's Republic of China . Although the province comprises some two hundred islands scattered among three archipelagos off the southern coast, of its land mass is Hainan Island , from which the province takes its name...

     hotspot
    • 20°N 110°W, az= 000° ±15°

African Plate

  • Mount Etna
    Mount Etna
    Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m higher than it was in 1981.. It is the highest mountain in...

    • 37°45.304′N 14°59.715′E
  • Hoggar
    Ahaggar Mountains
    The Ahaggar Mountains , also known as the Hoggar, are a highland region in central Sahara, or southern Algeria, along the Tropic of Cancer. They are located about 1,500 km  south of the capital, Algiers and just west of Tamanghasset. The region is largely rocky desert with an average...

     hotspot (13)
    • 23.3°N 5.6°W, w= .3 az= 046° ±12°
  • Tibesti
    Tibesti Mountains
    The Tibesti Mountains are a range of inactive volcanoes located on the northern edge of the Chad Basin in the Borkou- and Tibesti Region of northern Chad. The massif is one of the most prominent features of the Central-Sahara desert and covers an area of approximately 100,000 km². The northern...

     hotspot (40)
    • 20.8°N 17.5°W, w= .2 az= 030° ±15°
  • Jebel Marra/Darfur hotspot
    Darfur Dome
    The Darfur Dome or Darfur Volcanic Province is an area about 100x400 km in area in Western Sudan, the result of a volcanic plume which created its best-known and central feature, Deriba Crater. It also produced the surrounding Marra Mountains and Tagabo Hills, formed around 16 and 10 Ma., and...

     (6)
    • 13.0°N 24.2°W, w= .5 az= 045° ±8°
  • Afar hotspot
    • 7.0°N 39.5°W, w= .2 az= 030° ±15° rate= 16 ±8 mm/yr
    • Possibly related to the Afar Triple Junction
      Afar Triple Junction
      The Afar Triple Junction is a junction of three tectonic rifts centered in the Afar Depression, informally known as the Afar Triangle, of northeastern Africa. Here, the Red Sea Rift meets the Aden Ridge and the East African Rift...

      , 30 Ma.
  • Cameroon
    Cameroon line
    The Cameroon line is a chain of volcanoes.It includes islands in the Gulf of Guinea and mountains that extend along the border region of eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon, from Mount Cameroon on the Gulf of Guinea north and east towards Lake Chad....

     hotspot (17)
    • 2.0°N 5.1°W, w= .3 az= 032° ±3° rate= 15 ±5 mm/yr
  • Madeira
    Madeira
    Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies between and , just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union...

     hotspot
    • 32.6°N 17.3°W, w= .3 az= 055° ±15° rate= 8 ±3 mm/yr
  • Canary hotspot
    Canary hotspot
    The Canary hotspot, also called the Canarian hotspot, is a volcanic hotspot believed to be located at the Canary Islands off the north-western coast of Africa, although alternative theories to explain the volcanism there exist. The Canary hotspot is believed to be underlain by a mantle plume that...

     (18)
    • 28.2°N 18.0°W, w= 1 az= 094° ±8° rate= 20 ±4 mm/yr
  • New England/Great Meteor hotspot
    New England hotspot
    The New England hotspot, also referred to as the Great Meteor hotspot, is a long-lived volcanic hotspot in the Atlantic Ocean. The hotspot's most recent eruptive center is the Great Meteor Seamount, and it probably created a short line of mid to late-Tertiary age seamounts on the African Plate but...

     (28)
    • 29.4°N 29.2°W, w= .8 az= 040° ±10°
  • Cape Verde
    Geology of Cape Verde
    Cape Verde is a volcanic archipelago situated above an oceanic rise that puts the base of the islands 2 km above the rest of the seafloor. Cape Verde has been identified as a hotspot and it has been argued that a mantle plume might be underneath it causing the volcanic activity and associated...

     hotspot (19)
    • 16.0°N 24.0°W, w= .2 az= 060° ±30°
  • St. Helena hotspot
    St. Helena hotspot
    The St. Helena hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is responsible for the island of St. Helena and the St. Helena Seamount chain. It is one the oldest known hotspots on Earth, which began to produce basaltic lava about 145 million years ago....

     (34)
    • 16.5°N 9.5°W, w= 1 az= 078° ±5° rate= 20 ±3 mm/yr
  • Gough
    Gough Island
    Gough Island , also known historically as Gonçalo Álvares or Diego Alvarez, is a volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is a dependency of Tristan da Cunha and part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha...

     hotspot, at 40°19' S 9°56' W.
    • 40.3°N 10°W, w= .8 az= 079° ±5° rate= 18 ±3 mm/yr
  • Tristan hotspot
    Tristan hotspot
    The Tristan hotspot is a volcanic hotspot which is responsible for the volcanic activity which forms the volcanoes in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is thought to have formed the island of Tristan da Cunha and the Walvis Ridge on the African Plate....

     (42), at 37°07′ S 12°17′ W.
    • 37.2°N 12.3°W
  • Vema hotspot (Vema Seamount, 43), at 31°38' S 8°20' E.
    • 32.1°N 6.3°W
    • Related maybe to the Paraná and Etendeka traps
      Paraná and Etendeka traps
      The Paraná-Etendeka traps comprise a large igneous province which includes both the main Paraná traps as well as the smaller severed portions of the flood basalts at the Etendeka traps in Namibia and Angola. The original basalt flows occurred 128 to 138 million years ago...

       (c. 132 Ma) through the Walvis Ridge
      Walvis Ridge
      Walvis Ridge is an ocean ridge in the southern Atlantic Ocean, extending for thousands of miles, off the coast of southwest Africa. Both it and the Rio Grande Rise originated from hotspot volcanism now occurring at the islands of Tristan da Cunha , 300 kilometres east of the crest of the...

      .
  • Discovery hotspot (Discovery Seamounts)
    • 43.0°N 2.7°W, w= 1 az= 068° ±3°
  • Bouvet
    Bouvet Island
    Bouvet Island is an uninhabited Antarctic volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 2,525 km south-southwest of South Africa. It is a dependent territory of Norway and, lying north of 60°S latitude, is not subject to the Antarctic Treaty. The centre of the island is an ice-filled crater of an...

     hotspot
    • 54.4°N 3.4°W
  • Shona/Meteor hotspot
    Meteor hotspot
    The Meteor hotspot is a proposed volcanic hotspot located at or near the Meteor Rise in the southern Atlantic Ocean....

     (27)
    • 51.4°N 1.0°W, w= .3 az= 074° ±6°
  • Réunion hotspot
    Réunion hotspot
    The Réunion hotspot is a volcanic hotspot which currently lies under the Island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The Chagos-Laccadive Ridge and the southern part of the Mascarene Plateau are volcanic traces of the Réunion hotspot....

     (33)
    • 21.2°N 55.7°W, w= .8 az= 047° ±10° rate= 40 ±10 mm/yr
    • Possibly related to the Deccan Traps
      Deccan Traps
      The Deccan Traps are a large igneous province located on the Deccan Plateau of west-central India and one of the largest volcanic features on Earth. They consist of multiple layers of solidified flood basalt that together are more than thick and cover an area of and a volume of...

       (main events: 68.5-65 Ma)
  • Comoros
    Comoros
    The Comoros , officially the Union of the Comoros is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa, on the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar...

     hotspot (21)
    • 11.5°N 43.3°W, w= .5 az=118 ±10° rate=35 ±10 mm/yr

Antarctic Plate

  • Marion
    Prince Edward Islands
    The Prince Edward Islands are two small islands in the sub-antarctic Indian Ocean that are part of South Africa. The islands, named Marion Island and Prince Edward Island, are located at ....

     hotspot (25)
    • 46.9°N 37.6°W, w= .5 az= 080° ±12°
  • Crozet
    Crozet Islands
    The Crozet Islands are a sub-antarctic archipelago of small islands in the southern Indian Ocean. They form one of the five administrative districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.-Geography:...

     hotspot
    • 46.1°N 50.2°W, w= .8 az= 109° ±10° rate= 25 ±13 mm/yr
    • Possibly related to the Karoo-Ferrar
      Karoo-Ferrar
      Karoo and Ferrar denote a major geologic province consisting of flood basalt, which mostly covers South Africa and Antarctica, although portions extend further into southern Africa and into South America, India, Australia and New Zealand...

       geologic province (183 Ma)
  • Kerguelen hotspot
    Kerguelen hotspot
    The Kerguelen hotspot is a volcanic hotspot at the Kerguelen Plateau in the Southern Indian Ocean. The Kerguelen hotspot has produced basaltic lava for about 130 million years and has also produced the Kerguelen Islands, Heard Island, the McDonald Islands, and the Ninetyeast Ridge....

     (20)
    • 49.6°N 69.0°W, w= .2 az= 050° ±30° rate= 3 ±1 mm/yr
    • Île Saint-Paul
      Île Saint-Paul
      Île Saint-Paul is an island forming part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands in the Indian Ocean, with an area of . It is located about southwest of the larger Île Amsterdam, and south of Réunion...

       and Île Amsterdam
      Île Amsterdam
      New Amsterdam, Amsterdam Island, or Île Amsterdam is a French island in the Indian Ocean located at . It is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.- History :...

       could be part of the Kerguelen hotspot trail (St. Paul is probably not another hotspot)
    • Related maybe to the Kerguelen Plateau
      Kerguelen Plateau
      The Kerguelen Plateau is an underwater volcanic large igneous province , also the microcontinent and submerged continent in the southern Indian Ocean. It lies about 3,000 km to the southwest of Australia and is nearly three times the size of Japan...

       (130 Ma)
  • Heard
    Heard Island and McDonald Islands
    The Heard Island and McDonald Islands are an Australian external territory and volcanic group of barren Antarctic islands, about two-thirds of the way from Madagascar to Antarctica. The group's overall size is in area and it has of coastline...

     hotspot
    • 53.1°N 73.5°W, w= .2 az= 030° ±20°
  • Balleny hotspot
    Balleny hotspot
    The Balleny hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located in the Southern Ocean. The hotspot created the Balleny Islands, which forms a chain that extends for about in a northwest-southeast direction....

     (2)
    • 67.6°N 164.8°W, w= .2 az= 325° ±7°
  • Erebus hotspot
    Erebus hotspot
    The Erebus hotspot is a volcanic hotspot responsible for the high volcanic activity on Ross Island in the western Ross Sea of Antarctica. Its current eruptive zone, Mount Erebus, has erupted continuously since its discovery in 1841....

    • 77.5°N 167.2°W

South American Plate

  • Trindade/Martin Vaz hotspot
    Trindade hotspot
    The Trindade hotspot is a volcanic hotspot off the eastern coast of Brazil in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is responsible for the creation of the east-west trending Vitória-Trindade seamount chain, which includes the Trindade and Martim Vaz archipelago at its easternmost end. Trindade, a small...

     (41)
    • 20.5°N 28.8°W, w= 1 az= 264° ±5°
  • Fernando
    Fernando de Noronha
    Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, offshore from the Brazilian coast. The main island has an area of and had a population of 3,012 in the year 2010...

     hotspot (9)
    • 3.8°N 32.4°W, w= 1 az= 266° ±7°
    • Possibly related to the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province
      Central Atlantic Magmatic Province
      The Central Atlantic magmatic province is a large connected magma flow formed during the breakup of Pangaea during the Mesozoic Era. The initial breakup of Pangaea in early Jurassic time provided a legacy of basaltic dikes, sills, and lavas over a vast area around the present central North...

       (c. 200 Ma)
  • Ascension
    Ascension Island
    Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island in the equatorial waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, around from the coast of Africa and from the coast of South America, which is roughly midway between the horn of South America and Africa...

     hotspot
    • 7.9°N 14.3°W

North American Plate

  • Bermuda hotspot
    Bermuda hotspot
    The Bermuda hotspot is the supposed "hotspot" proposed to explain the Bermuda Rise , and also...

    • 32.6°N 64.3°W, w= .3 az= 260° ±15°
  • Yellowstone hotspot
    Yellowstone hotspot
    The Yellowstone hotspot, also referred to as the Snake River Plain-Yellowstone hotspot, is a volcanic hotspot responsible for large scale volcanism in Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, and Wyoming, United States. It created the eastern Snake River Plain through a succession of caldera forming eruptions...

     (44)
    • 44.5°N 110.4°W, w= .8 az= 235° ±5° rate= 26 ±5 mm/yr
    • Possibly related to the Columbia River Basalt Group
      Columbia River Basalt Group
      The Columbia River Basalt Group is a large igneous province that lies across parts of the Western United States. It is found in the U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and California...

       (17-14 Ma).
  • Raton hotspot
    Raton hotspot
    The Raton hotspot is a volcanic hotspot which is responsible for the volcanic activity which forms the volcanoes in northeastern New Mexico, United States....

     (32)
    • 36.8°N 104.1°W, w= 1 az= 240°±4° rate= 30 ±20 mm/yr
  • Anahim hotspot
    Anahim hotspot
    The Anahim hotspot is a volcanic hotspot in central British Columbia, Canada. It is situated on the Interior Plateau, a large region that lies between the Cariboo and Monashee Mountains to the east, and the Hazelton Mountains, Coast Mountains and Cascade Range to the west...

     (45)
    • 52°54′0"N 123°44′0"W (Nazko Cone
      Nazko Cone
      Nazko Cone is a small potentially active basaltic cinder cone in central British Columbia, Canada, located 75 km west of Quesnel and 150 kilometers southwest of Prince George. It is considered the easternmost volcano in the Anahim Volcanic Belt. The small tree-covered cone rises 120 m above...

      )

Indo-Australian Plate

  • Lord Howe
    Lord Howe Island
    Lord Howe Island is an irregularly crescent-shaped volcanic remnant in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, directly east of mainland Port Macquarie, and about from Norfolk Island. The island is about 11 km long and between 2.8 km and 0.6 km wide with an area of...

     hotspot (22)
    • 34.7°N 159.8°W, w= .8 az= 351° ±10°
  • Tasmanid hotspot (Gascoyne Seamount, 39)
    • 40.4°N 155.5°W, w= .8 az= 007° ±5° rate= 63 ±5 mm/yr
  • East Australia hotspot
    East Australia hotspot
    The East Australia hotspot is a volcanic hotspot that forces magma up at weak spots in the Indo-Australian Plate to form volcanoes in Eastern Australia. There have been no eruptions in Australia during historic times. It does not produce a single chain of volcanoes like the Hawaiian Islands...

     (30)
    • 40.8°N 146.0°W, w= .3 az= 000° ±15° rate= 65 ±3 mm/yr

Nazca Plate

  • Juan Fernández hotspot
    Juan Fernández hotspot
    The Juan Fernández hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. The hotspot created the Juan Fernández Ridge which includes the Juan Fernández Archipelago and a long seamount chain that is being subducted in the Peru-Chile Trench at the site of Papudo giving origin to...

     (16)
    • 33.9°N 81.8°W, w= 1 az= 084° ±3° rate= 80 ±20 mm/yr
  • San Felix
    Desventuradas Islands
    thumb|Map of Desventuradas Islands The Desventuradas Islands, also known as Islas de los Desventurados, is a group of four small islands located off the coast of Chile, northwest of Santiago in the Pacific Ocean...

     hotspot (36)
    • 26.4°N 80.1°W, w= .3 az= 083° ±8°
  • Easter hotspot
    Easter hotspot
    The Easter hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. The hotspot created the Sala y Gómez Ridge which includes Easter Island and the Pukao Seamount which is at the ridge's young western edge....

     (7)
    • 26.4°N 106.5°W, w= 1 az= 087° ±3° rate= 95 ±5 mm/yr
  • Galápagos hotspot
    Galápagos hotspot
    The Galápagos hotspot is a volcanic hotspot in the East Pacific Ocean responsible for the creation of the Galapagos Islands as well as three major aseismic ridge systems, Carnegie, Cocos and Malpelso which are on two tectonic plates. The hotspot is located near the Equator on the Nazca Plate not...

     (10)
    • 0.4°N 91.6°W
      • Nazca Plate, w= 1 az= 096° ±5° rate= 55 ±8 mm/yr
      • Cocos Plate, w= .5 az= 045° ±6°
    • Possibly related to the Caribbean large igneous province
      Caribbean large igneous province
      The Caribbean large igneous province consists of a major flood basalt, which created this large igneous province. It is the source of the current large eastern Pacific oceanic plateau, of which the Caribbean-Colombian oceanic plateau is the tectonized remnant. The deeper levels of the plateau have...

       (main events: 95-88 Ma).

Pacific Plate



  • Louisville hotspot
    Louisville hotspot
    The Louisville hotspot is a volcanic hotspot responsible for the volcanic activity that has formed the Louisville seamount chain in the southern Pacific Ocean.-Location:...

     (23)
    • 53.6°N 140.6°W, w= 1 az= 316° ±5° rate= 67 ±5 mm/yr
    • Possibly related to the Ontong Java Plateau
      Ontong Java Plateau
      The Ontong Java Plateau is a huge oceanic plateau located in the Pacific Ocean, lying north of the Solomon Islands. The plateau covers an area of approximately , or roughly the size of Alaska, and reaches a thickness of up to . The plateau is of volcanic origin, composed mostly of flood basalts...

       (125-120 Ma).
  • Foundation hotspot
    • 37.7°N 111.1°W, w= 1 az= 292° ±3° rate= 80 ±6 mm/yr
  • Macdonald hotspot
    Macdonald hotspot
    The Macdonald hotspot is a volcanic hotspot in the southern Pacific Ocean. The hotspot was responsible for the formation of the Macdonald Seamount, and possibly the Austral-Cook Islands chain. It is named after Gordon Macdonald....

     (24)
    • 29.0°N 140.3°W, w= 1 az= 289° ±6° rate= 105 ±10 mm/yr
  • North Austral/President Thiers (President Thiers Bank)
    • 25.6°N 143.3°W, w= (1.0) azim= 293° ± 3° rate= 75 ±15 mm/yr
  • Arago hotspot (Arago Seamount)
    • 23.4°N 150.7°W, w= 1 azim= 296° ±4° rate= 120 ±20 mm/yr
  • Maria/Southern Cook
    Aitutaki
    Aitutaki, also traditionally known as Araura, Ararau and Utataki, is one of the Cook Islands, north of Rarotonga. It has a population of approximately 2,000. Aitutaki is the second most visited island of the Cook Islands. The capital is Arutanga on the west side.-Geography:Aitutaki is an "almost...

     hotspot (Îles Maria
    Îles Maria
    Îles Maria or simply Maria, also known as Hull Island, is a small coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Its original name is Nororotu. The nearest land is Rimatara situated 205 km to the ESE....

    )
    • 20.2°N 153.8°W, w= 0.8 az= 300° ±4°
  • Samoa hotspot
    Samoa hotspot
    The Samoa hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located in the south Pacific Ocean.In geology the Hotspot model describes a hot upwelling plume of molten magma through the Earth's crust as an explanation of how volcanic islands are formed. The hotspot idea came from J...

     (35)
    • 14.5°N 168.2°W, w= .8 az= 285°±5° rate= 95 ±20 mm/yr
  • Crough hotspot (Crough Seamount)
    • 26.9°N 114.6°W, w= .8 az= 284° ± 2°
  • Pitcairn hotspot
    Pitcairn hotspot
    The Pitcairn hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located in the south-central Pacific Ocean. It is responsible for creating the Pitcairn Islands and two large seamounts called Adams and Bounty....

     (31)
    • 25.4°N 129.3°W, w= 1 az= 293° ±3° rate= 90 ±15 mm/yr
  • Society/Tahiti hotspot
    Society hotspot
    The Society hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located in the Pacific Ocean, and is responsible for the creation of the Society Islands....

     (38)
    • 18.2°N 148.4°W, w= .8 az= 295°±5° rate= 109 ±10 mm/yr
  • Marquesas hotspot
    Marquesas hotspot
    The Marquesas hotspot is a volcanic hotspot in the central Pacific Ocean. It is responsible for the Marquesas Islands, a group of 12 volcanic islands and one of the five archipelagos of French Polynesia....

     (26)
    • 10.5°N 139.0°W, w= .5 az= 319° ±8° rate= 93 ±7 mm/yr
  • Caroline
    Caroline Islands
    The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end...

     hotspot (4)
    • 4.8°N 164.4°W, w= 1 az= 289° ±4° rate= 135 ±20 mm/yr
  • Hawaii hotspot
    Hawaii hotspot
    The Hawaii hotspot is the volcanic hotspot that created the Hawaiian Islands in the central Pacific Ocean, and is one of Earth's best-known and most heavily-studied hotspots....

     (12)
    • 19.0°N 155.2°W, w= 1 az= 304° ±3° rate= 92 ±3 mm/yr
    • Possibly related to the Siberian Traps
      Siberian Traps
      The Siberian Traps form a large region of volcanic rock, known as a large igneous province, in the Russian region of Siberia. The massive eruptive event which formed the traps, one of the largest known volcanic events of the last 500 million years of Earth's geological history, continued for...

       (251-250 Ma).
  • Socorro/Revillagigedos
    Socorro Island
    Socorro Island is a small volcanic island in the Revillagigedo Islands, a Mexican possession lying some 600 kilometers off the country's western coast at 18°48'N, 110°59'W. The size is 16.5 by 11.5 km, with an area of 132 km².- Geology :...

     hotspot (37)
    • 19.0°N 111°W
  • Guadalupe
    Guadalupe Island
    Guadalupe Island, or Isla Guadalupe is a volcanic island located 241 kilometers off the west coast of Mexico's Baja California peninsula and some 400 kilometers southwest of the city of Ensenada in Baja California state, in the Pacific Ocean...

     hotspot (11)
    • 27.7°N 114.5°W, w= .8 az= 292° ±5° rate= 80 ±10 mm/yr
  • Cobb hotspot
    Cobb hotspot
    The Cobb hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located off the Oregon/Washington coast of the United States. The hotspot is at the Juan de Fuca Ridge, and has made the Cobb-Eickelberg Seamount chain...

     (5)
    • 46.0°N 130.1°W, w= 1 az= 321° ±5° rate= 43 ±3 mm/yr
  • Bowie/Pratt-Welker hotspot
    Bowie hotspot
    The Bowie hotspot is a volcanic hotspot, located west of the Queen Charlotte Islands in the Pacific Ocean.Almost all magma created by the hotspot has the composition of basalt, and so the volcanoes are constructed almost entirely of this igneous rock...

     (3)
    • 53.0°N 134.8°W, w=.8 az= 306° ±4° rate= 40 ±20 mm/yr

Former hotspots

  • Euterpe/Musicians hotspot (Musicians Seamounts)
  • Mackenzie hotspot
    Mackenzie hotspot
    The Mackenzie hotspot was a volcanic hotspot that existed about 1,267 million years ago across Canada from the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. It is responsible for the creation of the Mackenzie Large Igneous Province, which contains the largest dike swarm on Earth...

  • Matachewan hotspot
    Matachewan hotspot
    The Matachewan hotspot was a volcanic hotspot responsible for the creation of the large 2,500 to 2,450 million year old Matachewan dike swarm, as well as continental rifting of the Superior and Hearne cratons during the Paleoproterozoic period.-See also:...


External links