Scientists find potential catalyst for earthquakes on U.S. East Coast

The Extinction Protocol

September 16, 2013BOSTONA plume of hot material rising from deep within the earth scarred the underside of the North American tectonic plate as it drifted westward millions of years ago, suggests research published today in Nature Geoscience. The residual heat still affects seismic waves travelling through the continent, even though the mantle plume is now under the Atlantic Ocean. When such mantle plumes occur beneath thin oceanic crust, they often punch through and create volcanoes — the Hawaiian Islands are a prime example. But older, colder and thicker continental crust is not so easily breached, says Risheng Chu, a geophysicist at the Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics in Wuhan, China. The only signs on land of ancient hotspot paths typically are kimberlites — volcanic and sometimes diamond-bearing rocks that mark the site of an ancient, deep-seated eruption. But Chu and his colleagues inferred the path…

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