Author(s): Li X, Kind R, Yuan X, Wlbern I, Hanka W
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Abstract The volcanism responsible for creating the chain of the Hawaiian islands and seamounts is believed to mark the passage of the oceanic lithosphere over a mantle plume. In this picture hot material rises from great depth within a fixed narrow conduit to the surface, penetrating the moving lithosphere. Although a number of models describe possible plume-lithosphere interactions, seismic imaging techniques have not had sufficient resolution to distinguish between them. Here we apply the S-wave 'receiver function' technique to data of three permanent seismic broadband stations on the Hawaiian islands, to map the thickness of the underlying lithosphere. We find that under Big Island the lithosphere is 100-110 km thick, as expected for an oceanic plate 90-100 million years old that is not modified by a plume. But the lithosphere thins gradually along the island chain to about 50-60 km below Kauai. The width of the thinning is about 300 km. In this zone, well within the larger-scale topographic swell, we infer that the rejuvenation model (where the plume thins the lithosphere) is operative; however, the larger-scale topographic swell is probably supported dynamically.
This article was published in Nature
and referenced in Global Journal of Technology and Optimization