Hotspot swells and the lifespan of volcanic ocean islands
Author(s)Huppert, Kimberly L.; Perron, J. Taylor; Royden, Leigh H.; Royden, Leigh H
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Volcanic ocean islands generally form on swells—seafloor that is shallower than expected for its age over areas hundreds to more than a thousand kilometers wide—and ultimately subside to form atolls and guyots (flat-topped seamounts). The mechanisms of island drowning remain enigmatic, however, and the subaerial lifespan of volcanic islands varies widely. We examine swell bathymetry and island drowning at 14 hotspots and find a correspondence between island lifespan and residence time atop swell bathymetry, implying that islands drown as tectonic plate motion transports them past mantle sources of swell uplift. This correspondence argues strongly for dynamic uplift of the lithosphere at ocean hotspots. Our results also explain global variations in island lifespan, which influence island topography, biodiversity, and climate.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Huppert, Kimberly L. et al. "Hotspot swells and the lifespan of volcanic ocean islands." Science Advances 6, 1 (January 2020): eaaw6906 © 2020 The Authors
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