Mesoplates: Resolving a decades-old controversy



A new concept unifies several diverse lines of evidence regarding the kinematics of lithospheric plates (“lithoplates”) and the underlying mesosphere. Three “mesoplates”—shallow, kinematically rigid regions of the upper mesosphere of the Earth—are inferred to be the habitat of most hot spots, as well as the source region for the sea floor spreading. The recognition of mesoplates, which range in depth from perhaps 100–300 km+, provides a framework for resolving part of the ongoing hot spot-plume debate.