What is mantle plume and what is its role in plate tectonics?

A mantle plume is an area under the rocky outer layer of Earth, called the crust, where magma is hotter than the surrounding magma. The heat from this extra hot magma causes melting and thinning of the rocky crust, which leads to widespread volcanic activity on Earth’s surface above the plume.

Role of mantle plume in plate tectonics:

  • When a plume head encounters the base of the lithosphere, it is expected to flatten out against this barrier and to undergo widespread decompression melting to form large volumes of basalt magma. It may then erupt onto the surface These eruptions have been linked to flood basalts.
  • The eruption of continental flood basalts is often associated with continental rifting and breakup This has led to the hypothesis that mantle plumes contribute to continental rifting and the formation of ocean basins

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