How Do Oceanic Plateaus Form? Clues From Drilling at Shatsky Rise



[1] Oceanic plateaus are huge basaltic constructions whose eruptions may briefly outstrip even global mid-ocean ridge magma production. Although they form great undersea mountains, their origins are poorly understood. A widely accepted explanation is that oceanic plateaus are built by massive eruptions from the head of nascent thermal mantle plumes that rise from deep in the mantle to the surface [e.g., Duncan and Richards, 1991]. An alternative is that plateaus erupt by decompression melting of fusible patches in the upper mantle at plate edges or zones of extension [Foulger, 2007].