The Dynamic Earth View Multimedia Version

Main Menu >  Plate Tectonics and Volcanoes  >  Above Hot Spots
TITLE: Above Hot Spots


[Photo: Tracking Volcanoes]

The Hawaiian Islands are in the Pacific Ocean, and Yellowstone National Park is near the center of North America. Other than millions of tourists, what could they possibly have in common? They're both above hot spots — places where a plume of hot solid rock rises through Earth's mantle, partially melts, and generates magma. As an overlying plate travels across a hot spot, a chain of volcanoes forms. The ages and orientation of the volcanoes record the plate's past motion.

 


Bottom Navigation Bar

 

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits