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Hawaiian Emperor and the Yellowstone

25 March 2022

At https://phys.org/news/2022-03-hawaiian-emperor-undersea-mystery-revealed-supercomputers.html … the Hawaiian Emperor seamount chain spans four thousand miles, stretching from the Hawaiian Islands to the Detroit seamount in the North Pacific. It is L shaped – moving west, and then, abruptly, northwards. This kink in the chain is a paradox and has attracted research over the years. Now, it has been subject to the regurgitation of supercomputers. The team of researchers used supercomputing to try and discover how this came about, but the input involved the dynamics of tectonic plate motion. The Pacific plate spans some 40 million square miles, it is believed, and is outlined by the mountains and volcanoes of the Ring of Fire. This is a basic assumption of Plate Tectonics and the new research begins on that premise. One would have thought the supercomputers would have come up with a similar result to earlier research. However, the volcanoes of Hawaii are not located at the proposed plate boundary, but sit within the enormous Pacific plate. Some years ago it was proposed that a hot plume beneath the plate was the cause of the Hawaiian Emperor seamount anomaly, the plate moving over the plume and leaving behind the various seamounts in the chain. There are of course plenty of other seamounts in the Pacific, and around the world, but the research focuses on Hawaii. It is now accepted by mainstream that the seamount chain was created by the plate moving over a very hot plume with an origin deep in the Mantle. In fact, as the plate moved so did the line of seamounts, the plate moving primarily in a northerly direction. However, the new research suggests that around 50 million years ago it changed direction – and the hot spot plume also shifted. Supercomputers can number crunch and they had a lot to contend with by the amount of data fed into them. However, they were also being fed with some new information. This is the idea of a subduction zone in the Russian far east, a Kronotsky Arc that terminated around 50 million years ago. New input = different answers. They discovered that if the Kronotsky arc did really terminate around 50 million years ago this may explain the shift in direction. However, there was something else going on around that time, we may note and something the supercomputers were not fed. The Hiawatha crater on Greenland has recently been dated to around 50 million years ago. This may have been one of several impacts at the time.

At https://phys.org/news/2022-03-yellowstone-national-hidden-famous-american.html … which is all about the plumbing beneath the national park. It focuses on the geothermal oddities following a novel way of mapping them from a helicopter trailing a long probe. It picked up on a high electrical conductivity and low magnetisation underlying the hydrothermal activity. Hot hydrothermal fluids ascend nearly vertically from depths of more than a kilometer, arriving at the various hydrothermal fields within the park. It is not just Old Faithful. Along the way, they mix with shallow groundwater flowing within the park’s volcanic lava flows. Faults and fractures guide the ascent of the hydrothermal water and other constituents. Really clever piece of field work.

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