Cordilleran Section - 113th Annual Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 22-2
Presentation Time: 8:55 AM


HASSAN, Rakib1, MÜLLER, Dietmar1, GURNIS, Michael2, WILLIAMS, Simon1 and FLAMENT, Nicolas3, (1)School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, 2006, Australia, (2)Seismological Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 1200 E. California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91125, (3)School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, 2522, Australia,

Age-progressive volcanic hotspot tracks are typical surface expressions of plate tectonic movement on top of narrow plumes of hot material within Earth’s mantle. Seismic imaging reveals that these plumes can be of deep origin, potentially rooted on thermochemical structures in the lower mantle. Although palaeomagnetic and radiometric age data suggest that mantle flow can advect plume conduits laterally, the flow dynamics underlying the formation of the sharp bend occurring only in the Hawaiian-Emperor hotspot track in the Pacific Ocean remains enigmatic.

The north Pacific features long-lasting subduction systems, unlike those in the south Pacific. We present palaeogeographically-constrained numerical models of thermochemical convection demonstrating that flow in the deep lower mantle under the north Pacific was anomalously vigorous between 100 Ma and 50 Ma. These models show a sharp bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor hotspot track arising from the interplay of plume tilt and the lateral advection of plume sources. We show that the different trajectories of the Hawaiian and Louisville hotspot tracks arise from asymmetric deformation of thermochemical structures under the Pacific between 100 Ma and 50 Ma. This asymmetric deformation waned just before the Hawaiian-Emperor bend developed, owing to flow in the deepest lower mantle associated with slab descent in the north and south Pacific.