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      Pacific plate motion change caused the Hawaiian-Emperor Bend

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          Abstract

          A conspicuous 60° bend of the Hawaiian-Emperor Chain in the north-western Pacific Ocean has variously been interpreted as the result of an abrupt Pacific plate motion change in the Eocene (∼47 Ma), a rapid southward drift of the Hawaiian hotspot before the formation of the bend, or a combination of these two causes. Palaeomagnetic data from the Emperor Seamounts prove ambiguous for constraining the Hawaiian hotspot drift, but mantle flow modelling suggests that the hotspot drifted 4–9° south between 80 and 47 Ma. Here we demonstrate that southward hotspot drift cannot be a sole or dominant mechanism for formation of the Hawaiian-Emperor Bend (HEB). While southward hotspot drift has resulted in more northerly positions of the Emperor Seamounts as they are observed today, formation of the HEB cannot be explained without invoking a prominent change in the direction of Pacific plate motion around 47 Ma.

          Abstract

          The Hawaiian-Emperor Chain has a 60° bend that has been interpreted as the result of Pacific plate motion at 47 Ma or drift of the Hawaiian hotspot. Here, the authors show that hotspot drift cannot be the dominant mechanism for bend formation, but involves a change in the direction of Pacific plate motion at ∼47 Ma.

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          Most cited references71

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          Convection Plumes in the Lower Mantle

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            Global continental and ocean basin reconstructions since 200Ma

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              A POSSIBLE ORIGIN OF THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS

              J. Wilson (1963)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group
                2041-1723
                05 June 2017
                2017
                : 8
                : 15660
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED), University of Oslo , 0315 Oslo, Norway
                [2 ]Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ , Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
                [3 ]NGU Geodynamics , Trondheim, Norway
                [4 ]School of Geosciences, University of Witwatersrand , Johannesburg 2050, South Africa
                [5 ]Department of Earth Sciences, University of Utrecht , 3584 Utrecht, The Netherlands
                Author notes
                Article
                ncomms15660
                10.1038/ncomms15660
                5465363
                28580950
                f8c72491-bf48-4007-a91f-f5a7769dbf37
                Copyright © 2017, The Author(s)

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                History
                : 12 January 2017
                : 12 April 2017
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