Insights into the dynamics of mantle plumes from uranium-series geochemistry

Bernard Bourdon*, Neil M. Ribe, Andreas Stracke, Alberto E. Saal, Simon P. Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    48 Citations (Scopus)


    The long-standing paradigm that hotspot volcanoes such as Hawaii or Iceland represent the surface expression of mantle plumes - hot, buoyant upwelling regions beneath the Earth's lithosphere - has recently been the focus of controversy. Whether mantle plumes exist or not is pivotal for our understanding of the thermal, dynamic and compositional evolution of the Earth's mantle. Here we show that uranium-series disequilibria measured in hotspot lavas indicate that hotspots are indeed associated with hot and buoyant upwellings and that weaker (low buoyancy flux) hotspots such as Iceland and the Azores are characterized by lower excess temperatures than stronger hotspots such as Hawaii. This direct link between buoyancy flux and mantle temperature is evidence for the existence of mantle plumes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)713-717
    Number of pages5
    Issue number7120
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2006


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