Hotspot (geology)

Diagram showing a cross section through the Earth's lithosphere (in yellow) with magma rising from the mantle (in red). Lower diagram illustrates a hotspot track caused by their relative movement.

In geology, the places known as hotspots or hot spots are volcanic regions thought to be fed by underlying mantle that is anomalously hot compared with the surrounding mantle.[citation needed] Examples include the Hawaii, Iceland and Yellowstone hotspots. A hotspot's position on the Earth's surface is independent of tectonic plate boundaries, and so hotspots may create a chain of volcanoes as the plates move above them.

There are two hypotheses that attempt to explain their origins. One suggests that hotspots are due to mantle plumes that rise as thermal diapirs from the core–mantle boundary.[1] The other hypothesis is that lithospheric extension permits the passive rising of melt from shallow depths.[2][3] This hypothesis considers the term "hotspot" to be a misnomer, asserting that the mantle source beneath them is not in fact anomalously hot.


Schematic diagram showing the physical processes inside the Earth that lead to the generation of magma. Partial melting begins above the fusion point.

The origins of the concept of hotspots lie in the work of J. Tuzo Wilson, who postulated in 1963 that the formation of the Hawaiian Islands resulted from the slow movement of a tectonic plate across a hot region beneath the surface.[4] It was later postulated that hotspots are fed by narrow streams of hot mantle rising from the Earth's core–mantle boundary in a structure called a mantle plume.[5] Whether or not such mantle plumes exist is the subject of a major controversy in Earth science.[3][6] Estimates for the number of hotspots postulated to be fed by mantle plumes have ranged from about 20 to several thousands, over the years, with most geologists considering a few tens to exist. Hawaii, Réunion, Yellowstone, Galápagos, and Iceland are some of the most active volcanic regions to which the hypothesis is applied.

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Hot-Spot (Geologie)
български: Гореща точка
català: Punt calent
čeština: Horká skvrna
eesti: Kuum täpp
Esperanto: Varma punkto
euskara: Puntu bero
فارسی: تفتگاه
galego: Punto quente
한국어: 열점
Bahasa Indonesia: Titik panas (geologi)
íslenska: Heitur reitur
italiano: Punto caldo
ქართული: ცხელი ლაქები
magyar: Forrópont
македонски: Врела точка
Nederlands: Hotspot (geologie)
norsk: Varmepunkt
norsk nynorsk: Søylestraum
Plattdüütsch: Hotspot (Vulkan)
português: Ponto quente
Simple English: Hotspot (geology)
slovenščina: Vroča točka
српски / srpski: Врућа тачка
svenska: Hetfläck