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Article Review – Hot Spots Unplugged
Tarduno discusses the geological phenomena of 'hot spots' – areas where the earth's core is hot enough to burn through the crust, driving lava to the surface to form new land masses (89). The article covers the research that shaped our understanding on this theme during the 20th Century, identifying a largely submerged chain of mountains in the Pacific Ocean, known as the 'Emperor Seamounts', as a key point of reference from which numerous landmark theories have drawn their evidence. The main point of contention is whether or not hot spots are a static presence beneath the earth's crust (89).
The prevailing view on hot spots is that they are fixed points, rooted deep within the earth's core, and that chains of mountains and islands such as the Emperor Seamounts are formed as the tectonic plates which form the earth's crust move across the hot spot. This theory would imply that the Pacific plate has moved north and, more recently, north east. The Emperor Seamounts demonstrate this trajectory, with the youngest of its formations being at the south western tip of the range around Hawaii (89). Tarduno argues that hot spots are not static, but move around with currents in the mantle (89).
To prove this theory, Tarduno uses core rock samples from the ocean floor around the Emperor Seamounts. These samples are c…
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