Paleomagnetic Constraints on the Origin and Evolution of the Musicians and South Hawaiian Seamounts, Central Pacific Ocean

  1. Barbara H. Keating,
  2. Patricia Fryer,
  3. Rodey Batiza and
  4. George W. Boehlert
  1. William W. Sager1 and
  2. Malcolm S. Pringle2

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM043p0133

Seamounts, Islands, and Atolls

Seamounts, Islands, and Atolls

How to Cite

Sager, W. W. and Pringle, M. S. (1987) Paleomagnetic Constraints on the Origin and Evolution of the Musicians and South Hawaiian Seamounts, Central Pacific Ocean, 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/GM043p0133

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

  2. 2

    U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California

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


Twenty-two new paleomagnetic poles, 24 paleoinclinations, and 14 new radiometric ages have been determined for seamounts and ridges in the Musicians Seamounts and the South Hawaiian Seamounts. The geologic and tectonic implications of these data are presented in this report. Paleolatitudes show that the seamounts were formed astride the equator and are consistent with coeval volcanism over a range of 10°–20° of latitude. These data show no clear evidence for the origin of any of the seamounts at fixed latitude hotspots; however, a progression of ages in the NW-SE trending chain in the Musicians implies a hotspot formation. Two mean paleomagnetic poles defining the Pacific plate Cretaceous apparent polar wander path at 80 and 87 Ma of age were calculated. Age estimates were made for undated seamounts by comparing their paleomagnetic poles to the updated apparent polar wander path. The results imply volcanism over a period greater than 20 Ma, from before 90 Ma to after 70 Ma, in both the Musicians and South Hawaiian seamounts. The similarity of ages of many edifices in both provinces implies that they may have been generated by the same mechanism. The paleomagnetic results from several seamounts in each of the two provinces are interpreted to indicate a possible 15°–26° counterclockwise rotation of two small crustal blocks. A tectonic model is proposed to explain the location and timing of the formation of seamounts in the region using a hotspot to create some of the Musicians Seamounts and tectonic deformation caused by a salient of Farallon plate, trapped between the Murray and Molokai transform faults during a change in spreading direction, to account for the remainder.