Hotspots: The First 25 Years

  1. Barbara H. Keating,
  2. Patricia Fryer,
  3. Rodey Batiza and
  4. George W. Boehlert
  1. Emile A. Okal and
  2. Rodey Batiza

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM043p0001

Seamounts, Islands, and Atolls

Seamounts, Islands, and Atolls

How to Cite

Okal, E. A. and Batiza, R. (1987) Hotspots: The First 25 Years, in Seamounts, Islands, and Atolls (eds B. H. Keating, P. Fryer, R. Batiza and G. W. Boehlert), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM043p0001

Author Information

  1. Department of Geological Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60201

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1987

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900681

Online ISBN: 9781118664209



  • Seamounts;
  • Coral reefs and islands


The Wilson [1963]-Morgan [1971] hotspot hypothesis has been extremely successful for determining past plate motions and has served as a stimulating influence in many fields of Earth Science. In this paper, we provide a brief review of some of the important landmarks in the development of the unified geophysical-geochemical hotspot or plume model for linear island and seamount chains. We briefly review topics under the headings of kinematics, hotspot-plate interactions, and petrology and geochemistry, and then take a closer look at some problems that have developed with the simplest hotspot model in each of these categories. These second-order problems include such items as departure from linearity, prolonged volcanism at certain sites, and isotopic complexity, which are exemplified by such chains as the Cook-Australs, the Marquesas, and the Gulf of Alaska. In such cases, the hotspot model requires additional complexity in order to explain the observations. It is clear that not all oceanic or continental intraplate volcanism can be explained in terms of the classical hotspot hypothesis unless hotspots are part of a continuum which contains upwelling blobs of various size, longevity and isotopic characteristics. Within this context, we discuss some of the possible constraints provided by isotopic and convection modelling, and conclude that not all plumes are created equal.