Antipodal hotspot pairs on the Earth



The results of statistical analyses performed on three published hotspot distributions suggest that significantly more hotspots occur as nearly antipodal pairs than is anticipated from a random distribution, or from their association with geoid highs and divergent plate margins. The observed number of antipodal hotspot pairs depends on the maximum allowable deviation from exact antipodality. At a maximum deviation of ≤700 km, 26% to 37% of hotspots form antipodal pairs in the published lists examined here, significantly more than would be expected from the general hotspot distribution. Two possible mechanisms that might create such a distribution include: (1) symmetry in the generation of mantle plumes, and (2) melting related to antipodal focusing of seismic energy from large-body impacts.