QINGDAO, March 12 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese research team has found that the origin of Caroline Seamount in the west of the Pacific Ocean offers close evidence to the mantle plume hypothesis.
The hypothesis, proposed by scientists nearly half a century ago, provides an explanation for origins of the ocean floor plateau and seamount chain at the bottom of the ocean. However, it has never been proved.
According to the hypothesis, an explosion-like phenomenon occurs at the junction of the core and mantle about 2,800 km away from the Earth's surface. It helps form the ocean floor plateau and the seamount chain.
Through scientific sampling and laboratory analysis, the Chinese research team with the Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that the basalts of the Caroline seamount were formed earlier than those of a seamount chain nearby, and the isotopes of the basalts in the two places are very similar.
"It indicates that the ocean floor plateau and seamount chain probably came from the same mantle plume," said Zhang Guoliang, a researcher with the institute. "It is by far the best example to prove the mantle plume hypothesis."
The basalt samples were obtained by a research team led by Zhang during a probe mission by the Kexue (Science) scientific ship in 2015.
The finding has been published in the online edition of the journal Chemical Geology.