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Volcanoes do NOT erupt due to mantle plumes… Perhaps we need to re-think Hawaii and Iceland!

Our understanding of erupting volcanoes has been wrong over all these years.  Scientists have discovered that the erupting volcanoes are not the result of strong mantle plumes of magma coming from the interior of the Earth. What’s more? They say that our old theory never had any physical and sound evidence to support it.

Earth is a magma squeezing sponge, rather than a lava lamp!

We previously understood it, as magma plumes rising from the core and needing to find a way out, namely through volcanoes, much like the lava lamps function. The reality is that volcanoes erupt due to magma being squeezed out through normal plate tectonics, where the continental plates move around on the surface of the Earth and meet or drift apart from each other. (1)

Doesn’t sound too romantic, does it? Imagine saying to yourself, “Oh, look!  There is some magma being squeezed out of a volcano again! Cool.”

One theory leads to numerous others…

There are more new theories that accompany this way of explaining erupting volcanoes. The isotopes, the mixture of different minerals found after the eruptions, are formed right beneath the crust (within 1,000 kilometers down), rather than through a process of moving from even deeper within the Earth and reaching the shallower mantle parts. Then it gets mixed with other minerals. (2)

The magma erupting through volcanoes comes from a depth of less then 200 kilometers. The new theory completely eliminates the idea of narrow jets of magma coming from deep within the Earth’s core. What drives the movement of the continental plates is now being explained by broad masses of magma coming up and cooling off close to the surface, rather than strong, separate plumes of hot magma rising and causing the movement.

What does a planet consist of?

Any earth-like, or telluric, planet would consist of a central, metallic core. In our case, it’s mostly made of iron and a surrounding silicate mantle, plus the crust surrounding it. Einstein once claimed, “All is relative.” It is breathtaking to consider the size of our planet and everything that goes inside of it. We are, indeed, living in an enormous space!

In our own solar system, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Earth is set up this way, whereas, the rest of the planets are mainly built up by gas or fluid. (3)

Our view of our home evolves constantly.

In short, this new finding (rather a re-found finding since Lord Kelvin spoke about this more than 100 years ago) gives us the image of a planet that slowly displays a rise of hot magma in an even pace, at out-going directions at the same time. Once it reaches the surface, it cools down and slowly sinks back into the core again. This creates the volcanoes. The cracks and plate tectonics are just a “small” side effect of this impressive and majestic movement of our beautiful planet we call home!

We live in such a beautiful planet, indeed!

Sources for this article include: