Scientists are theorizing that several volcanic hot spots may be Earth’s planetary pulses, beating at a rate of five to 10 million years. Researchers in Norway, Hawaii and Australia suggest that the regular fluctuations originate in the Earth’s core, travel up through the mantle and create eruptions on the planet’s surface.
According to Discovery News:
Among the most famous hot spots are Hawaii, Yellowstone and Iceland. All of these sites have long histories of eruptive pulses that have burned through the slowly moving crust above like a cutting torch -- leaving a long, telltale wake of dead volcanoes made of progressively older rocks.
This is in contrast to other sorts of volcanoes, which are caused by shallower things, like one tectonic plate being shoved under another, then melting.
“Hot spots remain some of the greatest enigmas in earth science,” commented geologist Mike Coffin of the University of Tasmania, Australia. “Plate tectonic theory does not explain them.”
Some of these hot spots have been linked to vast eruptions that, in turn, are suspected of affecting some of the greatest mass extinctions in the history of life on Earth.
Click here for the Discovery News article.