Hawaiian Island Theory

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There have two theories about formation of the Hawaiian Islands. Unlike other volcanoes on the Earth, the Hawaiian chain sits squarely in the middle of the Pacific plate rather than on a tectonic boundary. In 1969, “hotspot theory” was purposed by J. Tuzo Wilson to explain this unusual placement. Wilson proposed that the linear geography of the Hawaiian Islands is due to the movement of the Pacific plate over a stationary point of great heat from deep within the Earth.

The great heat from this localized hotspot melts the Pacific plate above the hotspot and the spreading seafloor along the plate boundary pushed over the rocky crust. Magma was produced from the melting rock of the Pacific plate. The magma rise through the mantle and the crust
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However tectonic plates move on average a few centimeters a year. While that is not a lot over a few years, a centimeter a year ends up being kilometer in a million years. Over time, the volcano island is pushed away from the hotspot as the Pacific plate continues to move northward over time. Eventually the magma generated by the hotspot finds a new pathway to the surfaced and creates a new volcano. Like Kilauea, an active volcano always punctuates a chain of older, inactive…show more content…
Over 70 million years, this process has created the 6000km long Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain. Kilauea is one of five subaerial volcanoes that make up the Hawaiian Islands, created by the hotspot. Among five of these volcanoes, Kilauea is the youngest and is believed to be between 300,000 and 600,000 years of age. The oldest volcano is Kohala, its age is more than a million years old.

Kilauea would have started out as a young submarine volcano by following the pattern of Hawaiian volcanic. It was building itself up through subsurface eruption of alkali basalt before emerging from the sea with a series of explosive eruptions about 50,000 to 100,000 years ago. Since then, the volcano’s activity has likely been as it is now.

The oldest volcano Kohala, the northwestern volcano on the island had experienced almost 900,000 years of activity before going extinct. Kilauea at most only about 600,000 years old, hence it is still young for a Hawaiian volcano. For Kilauea future activity will likely be much like it has been for the past 50,000 to 100,000 years. The height of Kilauea’s summit will keep increase due to the Hawaiian and explosive activity. It will build up its rift zones, and fill and refill its summit caldera at its current rate for the rest of human

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