@UCSD: An Alumni Publication

An Alumni Publication   Archive vol1no3 Contact
 
Up Front: Letters to and from the editor
Shelf Life: Books
Cliff Notes: Student life and sports
Class Notes: Alumni profiles
Giving
Looking Back: Thoughts on UCSD
Credits: Staff and Contributors
Features
Searching for Genghis
Victims of War
Interview with the Chancellor
What's In a Name? The Long Saga of Third College
Spanish Archive
Campus Currents
Clarion Call
Plume Assignment
The Transformation of EBU1
Geckos of the Sea
Blue Whale Blues
Swedish Science Prize
The Measure of a Woman
The Mack 'N Biz
Breathe Plant, Breathe!
Hurt Locker Robots
More
Archive
 

Campus Currents May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Plume Assignment

A new study by a multi-institutional research team, which includes the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, has opened up a window into Hawaii’s deep roots and given the best picture yet of a plume of magma rising from Earth’s lower mantle. The findings, published in Science magazine, suggest that the Hawaiian hot spot is the result of a high-temperature plume upwelling from the lower mantle.

The National Science Foundation-funded project, called the Plume-Lithosphere Undersea Melt Experiment (PLUME), deployed a large network of seafloor seismometers at 73 sites off Hawaii to record data over more than two years and four research cruises. It represented the largest ocean-bottom seismometer experiment in the world, reaching deeper into the lower mantle than ever before.

“The PLUME team has unambiguously traced the Hawaiian plume from the seafloor through Earth’s mantle transition zone,” says geophysicist Gabi Laske, who led the experiment. The existence of a deep mantle plume has fundamental implications—not just for Hawaii, but more generally for the form of convection in the solid Earth, Earth’s composition with depth, its evolution over geologic time and how the earth releases heat.

—Annie Reisewitz