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hot spot

hot spot • n. a small area or region with a relatively hot temperature in comparison to its surroundings. ∎  Geol. an area of volcanic activity, esp. where this is isolated. ∎ fig. a place of significant activity or danger: the hotel was the hot spot in town, with its all-night coffee shop. ∎  (also hot·spot) Comput. an area on the screen that can be clicked on to start an operation such as loading a file.

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hot spot

hot spot An area of high volcanic activity. Some hot spots, e.g. Iceland, are located on constructive margins. Others occur within lithospheric plates, often lying at the end of a chain of progressively older volcanoes, e.g. the Hawaiian-Emperor Chain. The hot spot is thought to be stationary, or nearly so, and to produce volcanoes intermittently as the plate moves over it. It has been suggested that mantle plumes lie beneath hot spots.

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"hot spot." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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hot spot

hot spot An area which contains a large number of rare or endangered species and for that reason is designated for protection. Identifying hot spots is the traditional technique by which sites are selected for protection, but it tends to concentrate that protection on a small number of areas, leaving others, and the many species in them, unprotected. Many conservation biologists prefer to identify conservation areas by gap analysis.

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"hot spot." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Hot Spot

Hot Spot

Hot spots are a common term for plumes of magma welling up through Earths crust far from the edges of tectonic plates.

Plate tectonics, which grew out of the theory of continental drift proposed by Alfred Wegener (18801930) in 1912, is the scientific theory explaining how rigid plates move across the top of Earths asthenosphere. Where the plates separate, magma from the mantle approaches the surface and encounters decreased temperature and pressure, allowing it to solidify into new rock. At the edges of plates that collide together, trenches form where one plate slides under the other. In some places, such as the San Andreas fault in California, the plates slide past each other. Most volcanoes and earthquakes occur near the edges of tectonic plates.

Some volcanoes, for example the Hawaiian Islands, are far from the plate margins. These volcanoes tend to be very high and the rock produced there is alkaline, chemically different than the theoleiite rock produced at the margins. Moreover, there are several dotted lines of extinct volcanoes (such as the chain of the Hawaiian islands) that are arranged oldest-to-youngest in a line. The Yellowstone region of Wyoming is thought to overly a hot spot beneath the North American plate. Hot spots are explained, in a theory proposed by J. Tuzo Wilson in 1963, as fixed spots in Earths mantle, from which thermal plumes penetrate the crust. The lines of extinct volcanoes do not indicate that the plume is moving: rather that the plate is moving above the mantle. Therefore, volcanoes produced by hot spots can be used to infer the direction in which a plate is moving. In the case of the Hawaiian ridge, the most recent volcano (Kilauea) is southeast of the older volcanoes. The oldest volcano in this line dates back to about 40 million years ago. From this, scientists have deduced that the Pacific plate is moving northwest at about 3.9 in (10 cm) each year. However, a line of even older extinct volcanoes, the Emperor seamounts, trail northward from the end of Hawaiian ridge: the youngest are southernmost and the oldest (about 70 million years old) are northernmost. From this, we can deduce that the Pacific plate changed direction sometime between 40 and 50 million years ago.

The number of hot spots in the world is uncertain, with numbers ranging from a few dozen to over a hundred. They range in age from a few tens of millions of years in age (like the Hawaii-Emperor hot spot) to hundreds of millions of years old. Some appear to be extinct.

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Hot Spot

Hot spot

Hot spots are a common term for plumes of magma welling up through the crust (Earth's outermost layer of rock) far from the edges of plates.

To understand what hot spots are and why they are important, some understanding of the theory of plate tectonics is necessary. This widely accepted theory proposed by Alfred Wegener in 1912 states that the crust is composed of huge plates of rock that drift over Earth's mantle. Where the plates separate, magma from the mantle approaches the surface and encounters decreased temperature and pressure , allowing it to solidify into new rock. At the edges of plates that crash together, trenches form, in which one plate slides under the other. In some places, such as the San Andreas Fault in California, the plates slide by each other. Most volcanoes and earthquakes occur near the edges of these plates.

Some volcanoes, however, are far from the plate margins. These volcanoes tend to be very high, in the center of raised areas, and the rock produced there is alkaline, chemically different than the theoleiite rock produced at the margins. Moreover, there are several dotted lines of extinct volcanoes (such as the chain of the Hawaiian islands) that are arranged oldest-to-youngest in a line, tipped by a young active volcano .

These are explained, in a theory proposed by J. Tuzo Wilson in 1963, as fixed spots in Earth's mantle, from which thermal plumes penetrate the crust. The lines of extinct volcanoes do not indicate that the plume is moving: rather that the plate is moving relative to the mantle. Therefore, the hot spots can be used to deduce the direction in which a plate is moving. In the case of the Hawaiian ridge, the most recent volcano (Kilauea) is southeast of the older volcanoes. The oldest volcano in this line dates back to about 40 million years ago. From this, scientists have deduced that the Pacific plate is moving northwest at about 3.9 in (10 cm) each year. However, a line of even older extinct volcanoes, the Emperor seamounts , trail northward from the end of Hawaiian ridge: the youngest are southernmost and the oldest (about 70 million years old) are northernmost. From this, we can deduce that the Pacific plate changed direction sometime between 40 and 50 million years ago.

In addition to the volcanoes, hot spots have other effects on the areas around them: they lift the areas around them and represent areas of high heat flow.

The number of hot spots in the world is uncertain, with numbers ranging from a few dozen to over a hundred. They range in age from a few tens of millions of years in age (like the Hawaii-Emperor hot spot) to hundreds of millions of years old. Some appear to be extinct.

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