Scientists have debated for decades whether the earth’s hot spots are fed by mantle plumes. After years of research and significant advances in technology, scientists think that they have the answer. With the significant use of technology, and keeping of precise records, scientists have found that nearly 30 mantle plumes are constantly rising upward from the core of the earth. Most of these mantle plumes are beneath volcanic hot spots, proving the theory developed 40 years ago.

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In addition, scientists have also found that these plumes can be more than three times as wide as had been expected, measuring between 600 and 800 kilometers in width. This is significant because it allows the plumes to bring far more heat to the earth’s mantle than had been estimated in the past. These mantle plumes are also ramrod straight, going directly from the earth’s core to its mantle. They are not affected the currents of rock that circulate in the earth’s lower mantle, a fact that will researches to rethink many things they thought they knew about the way the lower mantle functions.

While this discovery is significant and could not have been made without the use of technology scientists have not had up to now, further discovery is limited by technology. Two thirds of the earth is accounted for by the oceans, where collection of data is difficult to say the least. Scientists are working to develop effective means of collecting data in the oceans. Though the technology being developed for ocean research would not collect data as efficiently as land methods do, it would nonetheless be a significant step forward. In particular, scientists are configuring a form of submersed collective data collectors that listen for large earth quakes.