The correlation between geomagnetic field reversals, Hawaiian volcanism, and the motion of the Pacific plate

G. P. Gregori, W. Dong


The correlation between geomagnetic field reversals and volcanism is investigated, according to the speculated consequence on volcanoes of the transient electric currents in the geodynamo, through Joule's heating, before and after every reversal event. We evaluate the temporal variation during the last ~ 70 Ma both of the magma emplacement rate Q(t) from the Hawaii hot spot, and of the speed v(t) of the Pacific plate, by means of the observed volumes of islands and seamounts along the Hawaii/Emperor Seamounts chain, and their respective radiometric datings. Results confirm expectations. A justification of the volcanic crises that lead to the generation of the large igneous provinces during the last ~ 250 Ma also emerged. We describe in detail the complex pattern of the timings of the different effects. Joule's power is generally responsible for ~ 75-80% of magmatism, and friction power only for ~ 20-25%; but, on some occasions almost ~ 100% is fuelled by friction alone. The visco-elastic coupling between lithosphere and asthenosphere results ~ 96% viscous, and ~ 4% elastic.


Geomagnetic reversals;volcanism;Hawaii's hot spot;Pacific plate

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X