An emerging plume head interacting with the Hawaiian plume tail

Lipeng Zhang, Zebin Cao, Robert E. Zartman, Congying Li, Saijun Sun, Lijun Liu, Weidong Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain has shown two subparallel geographical and geochemical volcanic trends, Loa and Kea, since ∼5 Ma, for which numerous models have been proposed that usually involve a single mantle plume sampling different compositional sources of the deep or shallow mantle. However, both the dramatically increased eruption rate of the Hawaiian hotspot since ∼5 Ma and the nearly simultaneous southward bending of the Hawaiian chain remain unexplained. Here, we propose a plume-plume interaction model where the compositionally depleted Kea trend represents the original Hawaiian plume tail and the relatively enriched Loa trend represents an emerging plume head southeast of the Hawaiian plume tail. Geodynamic modeling further suggests that the interaction between the existing Hawaiian plume tail and the emerging Loa plume head is responsible for the southward bending of the Hawaiian chain. We show that the arrival of the new plume head also dramatically increases the eruption rate along the hotspot track. We suggest that this double-plume scenario may also represent an important mechanism for the formation of other hotspot tracks in the Pacific plate, likely reflecting a dynamic reorganization of the lowermost mantle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100404
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 13 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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