Hot spot forms the Hawaiian Islands

Hot spot forms the Hawaiian Islands

Fig. 4.16 . A hot spot that is anchored deep within the Earth has recently fed molten lava through a long pipe to Mauna Loa on the big island of Hawaii. The moving Pacific Plate has carried three other volcanic islands away from the hot spot. As the plate moves on, wind and water erodes the peaks, reducing these now extinct volcanoes to sunken islands known as seamounts. An underwater volcano, named Loihi, is now forming over the hot spot; it should rise above the ocean to become another Hawaiian island in about 50 thousand years.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University