Hot Spots and Mantle Plumes

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This site describes mantle plumes, which are areas of hot, upwelling mantle. A hot spot develops above the plume. Magma generated by the hot spot rises through the rigid plates on the lithosphere and produces active volcanoes at the surface. The site explains how Tuzo Wilson, one of the founders of the theory of plate tectonics, found three linear chains of volcanoes and submarine volcanoes (seamounts) on a map of the Pacific Ocean that suggested the idea that the hot spots were stationary as the plate moved. Through this lesson students should gain perspective on how new ideas develop in geological sciences, relate mantle plumes and hot spots to plate tectonics, and explain why the Hawaiian Islands become progressively older to the northwest. Six activities ranging from kindergarten to grade twelve are available along with links to numerous references and information about the Yellowstone hot spot.

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Subject: Geoscience:Geology
Grade Level: High School (9-12), Middle (6-8)
Topics: Earth surface