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A mantle plume is hot, buoyant mass of material that rises from deep within the earth to the base of the lithosphere, where is creates a "hot spot". If a plate moves over a mantle hotspot or plume, volcanic islands can be formed in the middle of a tectonic plate as is the case in the Hawaiian Islands (see figure 5).

Figure 5 as taken from "The Story of Earth and Life". See references: 2.


  1. Smithsonian Institution, multiple contributors. 2003. Earth. Pages 140-209 in Luhr JF, ed. Mountains and Volcanoes. New York: Dorling Kindersley Limited.
  2. McCarthy T and Rubidge B. 2005. The Story of Earth and Life. Pages 32-57 in How the Earth Works. Cape Town. Struik Publishers