What is a Volcanic Hotspot?    (Educational)
What is a Volcanic Hotspot? (Educational)

A hotspot is a localized source of high heat
energy that sustains volcanism. It is not a isolated shallow magma reservoir beneath
the crust, nor is it a pipe of magma that streams from the outer core.
One theory holds that hot spots may begin as a blowtorch-like thermal perturbation in
a zone between the liquid outer core and overlying mantle about 2900 km deep.
The thermal plume allows solid, yet mobile mantle to rise very slowly and convect outward.
Convection is the process by which heated material rises and cooler material sinks.
Although magma may be generated as deep as 1500 kilometers, individual blobs do not traverse
the entire mantle. Let’s zoom in to look at hotspot volcanism
beneath a moving plate. As each pocket of melt stalls, its heat is
transferred to adjacent rock. This process continues to the base of the tectonic plate
where decreased pressure facilitates rock melting.
The magma that forms at the base of the plate rises through the plate in a network of cracks
and shallow chambers and erupts on the surface. Over 100’s of thousand years large volcanoes
built atop the plate; the weight of the volcanoes bends the plate downward.
Volcanoes that spent their constructive life over the thermal plume slowly get rafted away
on the moving plate and new volcanoes build in their place.
Multiple dikes can feed several volcanoes from separate conduits.
The moving plate drags the thermal plume with it.
This can explain why volcanoes can erupt again after centuries of quiescence, even after
they have moved off the center of the hotspot. However, erosion greatly outpaces volcanism
as eruptions wane and the buoyant effect of the plume diminishes allowing the volcano
to subside. Though heat is being transferred by these
rising blobs, little magma is created. Critics of the plume model have argued that
the magma in hot spot volcanoes comes from relatively shallow depths in the upper mantle
(less than 660 kilometers), not deep plumes, but the anomaly observed by the PLUME researchers
extends to at least 1,500 kilometers. Rock within the anomaly is also calculated to be
significantly hotter than its surroundings, as predicted by the plume model.

50 thoughts on “What is a Volcanic Hotspot? (Educational)”

  1. Tridgers says:

    Thanks alot- very helpful!

  2. helena guerra says:

    very very good. thaks a lot, best video explaining hotspots

  3. The Lone Pixel says:

    Brilliant! Really helped me!

  4. V Plantinga says:

    veryyyyyy helpful C::

  5. TheFlobM says:

    thank you!!!
    you helped me with my geography homework!
    also very easy to understand.
    it is also the best video that explains hotspot volcanoes without so many confusing words!!!

  6. abaswilderness says:

    nice nice! Thank you! I was very confused reading hotspots in my book but your explanation cleared it up!

  7. Casey Lee says:

    Soooooo helpful thankyou!!!! 🙂

  8. 学习如何玩儿 says:

    This is very good for teaching. Thanks!

  9. 916niko.shmiko says:

    Thanks very helpful for my quiz tomorrow! Lol

  10. Tuatara says:

    Great video

  11. Laura says:

    Hi I'm German so I might have missed this explanation but could you explain to me again what effect the bending of the plate due to the weight of the volcano has? Is it important or was it just some additional piece of information? THank you for your help. 

  12. thejkn says:

    Thank u!!!

  13. Martha Marin says:

    Thank you so much, dear IRIS.

  14. Sneak Goblin87 says:

    did u have to watch this because of homework?

  15. Tyler Harvey says:

    cheers ^-^

  16. Keith Ross says:

    Convection currents are caused by COLD dense material sinking under gravity. The hotter less dense material is then FORCED UP against gravity. Please share this insight – most text books, web pages etc say "Hot air, water, mantle RISES' allowing the cold air,water mantle to fill its place, but air,water and mantle are attracted by gravity, so if they move away from the earth there must be a force to push them up – this comes from the denser colder air water mantle being pulled DOWN. Think of a see-saw with a litre of hot water on one side and a litre of cold the other – the same volume but the hot water will weigh less, lower force of gravity, so will be forced up as the denser cold water goes down – it is the extra force from the cold water that pushes the hot water away from the earth, not the other way round.

  17. liannex says:

    soooo helpful ! I have my finals in 2,5 weeks and I didn't understand this part but now I do. Thankyou !

  18. araL nedleS says:

    Thank you. That was really helpful!

  19. 윤정인 says:

    Thank you so much for kind explanation!!

  20. rensonlacs23 says:

    This Video helped me a lot.
    By the way , can I download this video to show it during my report ? Please 😀
    I am a grade 10 student (Y)

  21. JSTN Red03 FairyTail says:


  22. Vergel_Nagisa Kun says:

    is the hot spot never ends?

  23. Vergel_Nagisa Kun says:

    I mean, continues forming of volcanos?

  24. Bionic Tv says:

    thank you so much you made me get a good level in my gcse

  25. Big Banoido says:

    Big Deco with his mayonnaise addiction

  26. Hussain Ali says:


  27. Deep Cuts says:

    D'' if ya know what I mean 😉

  28. SunnyLime says:

    Thank you sir

  29. Kreemerz says:

    convection heat rising from the outer core is a 'theory' but so is the concept that a hotspot being a pipe to the lower mantle. You can't say one concept is not at the sake of a another theory. Both are hypothesis.

  30. Christian Jiang says:

    Ho la 3ª prova domani hahaha

  31. Parita Javia says:

    Best explanation..!!

  32. Siva Sivakumar says:

    சேலம் சிறுத்தை சிவா VCK

  33. Croak 404 says:

    You sound like Alan Becker lol

  34. Mario Alberto Leal Mayne says:

    Hello brian, yes Im mario your fauvorite student

  35. Alex Wright says:


  36. Cheyenne Rucker says:

    i need cheepbus

  37. AoAstar says:

    great video and animation!

  38. Pradip Das says:

    Wow Beautiful answer given mee. Thank you

  39. Jovanni Barillas says:


  40. Pamela Kristen says:


  41. Bubble Bumble says:

    ugh bless, thank u so much <3

  42. Aidan Hubers says:

    uh oh, stinky

  43. Abdullahi Kassim says:


  44. Ivanka Lee says:


  45. Ivanka Lee says:


  46. Xilitoes says:

    Am I The Only One Whos preparing for an exam and cannot understand the hotspots ?

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