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Broad plumes rooted at the base of the Earth's mantle beneath major hotspots

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, September 2015
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (77th percentile)

Mentioned by

21 news outlets
4 blogs
90 tweeters
1 Facebook page
2 Wikipedia pages
3 Google+ users


241 Dimensions

Readers on

335 Mendeley
Broad plumes rooted at the base of the Earth's mantle beneath major hotspots
Published in
Nature, September 2015
DOI 10.1038/nature14876
Pubmed ID

Scott W. French, Barbara Romanowicz


Plumes of hot upwelling rock rooted in the deep mantle have been proposed as a possible origin of hotspot volcanoes, but this idea is the subject of vigorous debate. On the basis of geodynamic computations, plumes of purely thermal origin should comprise thin tails, only several hundred kilometres wide, and be difficult to detect using standard seismic tomography techniques. Here we describe the use of a whole-mantle seismic imaging technique--combining accurate wavefield computations with information contained in whole seismic waveforms--that reveals the presence of broad (not thin), quasi-vertical conduits beneath many prominent hotspots. These conduits extend from the core-mantle boundary to about 1,000 kilometres below Earth's surface, where some are deflected horizontally, as though entrained into more vigorous upper-mantle circulation. At the base of the mantle, these conduits are rooted in patches of greatly reduced shear velocity that, in the case of Hawaii, Iceland and Samoa, correspond to the locations of known large ultralow-velocity zones. This correspondence clearly establishes a continuous connection between such zones and mantle plumes. We also show that the imaged conduits are robustly broader than classical thermal plume tails, suggesting that they are long-lived, and may have a thermochemical origin. Their vertical orientation suggests very sluggish background circulation below depths of 1,000 kilometres. Our results should provide constraints on studies of viscosity layering of Earth's mantle and guide further research into thermochemical convection.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 90 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 335 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 4 1%
United Kingdom 3 <1%
France 2 <1%
Germany 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
India 1 <1%
Unknown 323 96%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 114 34%
Researcher 48 14%
Student > Master 43 13%
Student > Bachelor 33 10%
Professor 25 7%
Other 72 21%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Earth and Planetary Sciences 268 80%
Unspecified 40 12%
Physics and Astronomy 12 4%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 5 1%
Environmental Science 3 <1%
Other 7 2%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 252. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 08 July 2019.
All research outputs
of 13,338,169 outputs
Outputs from Nature
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Nature
of 970 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,338,169 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 69,302 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 75.6. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 238,440 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 970 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 77% of its contemporaries.