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Bárðarbunga on Earth's Hot Spot, Volcanologist Says

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Bárðarbunga on Earth's Hot Spot, Volcanologist Says

Holuhraun

Iceland is one of the earth's hot spots in more ways than one. Photo: Jóhannes Benediktsson

According to volcanologist Haraldur Sigurðsson, Bárðarbunga volcano is now sitting right on top of the earth’s hot spot.

“The hot spot began under Siberia approximately 250 million years ago. The tectonic plates of the earth are floating on top of the earth’s magma, like a raft on water, but the hot spot is still in the same place. Now it is simmering below us. Once Siberia was above it, then Baffin Island, after that Greenland and now Iceland,” Haraldur told Morgunblaðið.

According to Wikipedia the theory behind hot spot originated as follows:

“The origins of the concept of hotspots lie in the work of J. Tuzo Wilson, who postulated in 1963 that the Hawaiian Islands 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 mantle rising from the Earth's core-mantle boundary in a structure called a mantle plume. Whether or not such mantle plumes exist is currently the subject of a major controversy in Earth science. Estimates for the number 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, Réunion, Yellowstone, Galápagos, and Iceland are some of the currently most active volcanic regions to which the hypothesis is applied.”

“The joint mantle plume/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) and by the fact that hotspots do not appear to be fixed relative to one another (e.g., Hawaii and Iceland.)”

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