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Published March 1, 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

Deep Drilling into a Mantle Plume Volcano: The Hawaii Scientific Drilling Project


Oceanic volcanoes formed by mantle plumes, such as those of Hawaii and Iceland, strongly influence our views about the deep Earth (Morgan, 1971; Sleep, 2006). These volcanoes are the principal geochemical probe into the deep mantle, a testing ground for understanding mantle convection, plate tectonics and volcanism, and an archive of information on Earth's magnetic field and lithosphere dynamics. Study of the petrology, geochemistry, and structure of oceanic volcanoes has contributed immensely to our present understanding of deep Earth processes, but virtually all of this study has been concentrated on rocks available at the surface. In favorable circumstances, surface exposures penetrate to a depth of a few hundred meters, which is a small fraction of the 10- to 15-kilometer height of Hawaiian volcanoes above the depressed seafloor (Moore, 1987; Watts, 2001).

Additional Information

© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. The project and the U.S. investigators were funded by the Continental Dynamics Program of the U.S. National Science Foundation (EAR-9528594 to E.M. Stolper, EAR-9528544 to D.J. DePaolo, and EAR-9528534 to D.M. Thomas), with additional funds for core drilling provided by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP). Non-U.S. investigators participated with support from their respective institutions and national funding agencies. The authors would like to acknowledge the critical role played by Mike Garcia in supervising the core logging and other on-site core characterization activities.

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