Mantle Plumes

A Multidisciplinary Approach

  • Joachim R. R. Ritter
  • Ulrich R. Christensen

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Basic Properties of Mantle Plumes

    1. Neil Ribe, Anne Davaille, Ulrich Christensen
      Pages 1-48
  3. Case studies

    1. Xiaohui Yuan, Xueqing Li, Ingo Wölbern, Rainer Kind
      Pages 49-69
    2. Thomas Ruedas, Gabriele Marquart, Harro Schmeling
      Pages 71-126
    3. Andreas Barth, Michael Jordan, Joachim R. R. Ritter
      Pages 159-184
  4. Eifel Region

    1. Zuzana Fekiacova, Dieter F. Mertz, Paul R. Renne
      Pages 185-206
    2. Wilhelm Meyer, Johannes Stets
      Pages 369-378
    3. Joachim R. R. Ritter
      Pages 379-404
    4. Michael Weber, Günter Bock, Martin Budweg
      Pages 405-415
    5. Jan P. Mathar, Wolfgang Friederich, Joachim R. R. Ritter
      Pages 417-437
    6. Kristoffer T. Walker, Götz H. R. Bokelmann, Simon L. Klemperer, Günter Bock, The Eifel Plume Team
      Pages 439-464
    7. Joachim R. R. Ritter, Jan P. Mathar, Michael Jordan, Gerald Gabriel
      Pages 465-476
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 477-501

About this book


The concept of mantle plumes, originally suggested by Morgan (1971), is widely but not unequivocally accepted as the cause for hotspot volcanism. Plumes are thought of as deep-rooted, approximately cylindrical regions of hot rising mantle rock with a typical diameter of 100-200 km. Pressure-release melting near the b- tom of the lithosphere produces magmas that rise to the surface and lead, when the plate moves relative to the plume, to a chain of volcanic edifices whose age p- gresses with increasing distance from the plume. For a long time, the evidence for mantle plumes has been largely circumstantial. Laboratory and computer models of mantle convection show that under certain conditions plume-like structures can be found, and these simulations have been used to characterise their properties. Geodetic signals, such as topographic swells and associated geoid anomalies which surround the volcanic hotspots, support the plume hypothesis. They are best identified in an oceanic environment where the plume signal is usually less s- ceptible to be masked by effects of crustal or lithospheric heterogeneities. The i- topic and trace element composition of hotspot lavas differs from those of m- oceanic ridge basalts which is interpreted as indication for a source reservoir d- ferent from average upper mantle rock. The idea of mantle plumes has gained widespread popularity in various disciplines of Earth science and has been used, sometimes perhaps excessively, to explain volcanic and other phenomena.


Geodynamics Volcanism geochemistry plate tectonics satellite

Editors and affiliations

  • Joachim R. R. Ritter
    • 1
  • Ulrich R. Christensen
    • 2
  1. 1.Geophysical InstituteUniversity of KarlsruheKarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Max-Planck Institute for Solar System ResearchKatlenburg-LindauGermany

Bibliographic information