Ridge-hotspot interactions : what mid-ocean ridges tell us about deep Earth processes
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Earth is a thermal engine that dissipates its internal heat primarily through convection. The buoyant rise of hot material transports heat to the surface from the deep interior while colder material sinks at subduction zones. Mid-ocean ridges and hotspots are major expressions of heat dissipation at Earth’s surface, as evidenced by their abundant volcanic activity. Ridges and hotspots, however, could differ significantly in their origins. Ridges are linear features that wind more than 60,000 km around the globe, constituting the major diverging boundaries of Earth’s tectonic plates. Hotspots, on the other hand, are localized regions of abnormally robust magmatism and distinctive geochemical anomalies.
Author Posting. © Oceanography Society, 2007. This article is posted here by permission of Oceanography Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Oceanography 20, 1 (2007): 102-115.