Describe the formation of hotspots and explain their relationship to plate movement.

Radioactive deacay in the Earth's core creates extremely high temperatures which heat the lower mantle. When radioactive decay is concentrated, local thermal currents are generated in the lower mantle. Plumes of magma rise from the lower mantle and burn through the Earth's lithosphere to create volanic activity on the Earth's surface. An example of a hotspot Hawaii.The hotspot remains stationary whilst the overlying plate moves. Using the example of Hawaii, the Pacific Plate is moving North-West at a rate of 5-10cm per year. This leaves a chain of extinct volcanoes which are no longer fed by the source of magma. The extinct volcanoes put pressure on the plate and therefore subside and become seamounts. Bends in the island chain show changes in the direction of plate movement. Hotspots are proof of Wagners theory of plate tectonics and plate movement.

Bethan D. A Level Geography tutor, GCSE Geography tutor, GCSE History...

2 years ago

Answered by Bethan, an A Level Geography tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


£20 /hr

Bethany L.

Degree: Geography (Bachelors) - Manchester University

Subjects offered: Geography, Maths+ 3 more


“About me: I am a Geography student at the University of Manchester. I am hugely passionate about my subject and hope I can help anyone wanting to get a better understanding themselves. I have tutored younger students at school in Geog...”

£20 /hr

William S.

Degree: Geography (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: Geography, History+ 1 more

English Literature

“Hello, I'm Will and I read Geography at Durham University. I chose geography because of its broad, contemporary nature and debate of prescient global issues. Aside from my university modules, I hold a genuine interest in politics and ...”

MyTutor guarantee

£20 /hr

Odette F.

Degree: Biological Sciences (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered: Geography, Biology+ 1 more

-Personal Statements-

“ABOUT ME: I am a 2nd Year Biology Student at the University of Exeter. Science as a whole, is a subject I am hugelyenthusiastic about and I would love to share this eagernesswith you! Having spent some of my Gap Year teaching abroad, I...”

About the author

Bethan D.

Currently unavailable: no new students

Degree: Geography BSc (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: Geography, Science+ 2 more


“Second year Geography student at Durham University. Passionate about Geography and Economics at GCSE and A-Level.”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Posts by Bethan

Describe how seismic waves and earthquakes can be measured.

Describe the formation of hotspots and explain their relationship to plate movement.

Outline the features of seismic waves.

Other A Level Geography questions

What is one cause of cultural globalisations and what are it's effects?

Describe the formation of hotspots and explain their relationship to plate movement.

Is GDP a good indicator of vulnerability to natural disasters?

How do I choose which short answer questions to answer in the exam (AQA)?

View A Level Geography tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss