8.The Ice Age Crustal Overturn and Volcanic Island Chains

The Ice Age Crustal Overturn and Volcanic Island Chains

One of the few objections that have been put forward to the theory of crustal overturn are a few lines of volcanoes under the Pacific Ocean. This is based on the theory that volcanoes form above rising plumes of magma. As the crustal plates drift over the rising plumes, the rising magma burns new holes, and the ne volcano errupts at the end of a long chain of dead volcanoes.

But there are no chains of volcanoes showing increasing age for most volcanic systems. The Island of Mull, a fossil volcano, sits on its own off the west coast of Scotland, but there is no chain of younger volcanoes leading to currentlyactive ones.

The volcanoes of the Canary Islands do not form a chain that errupts afresh over a static plume. They have errupted through the same crustal structures for many millenia and this drifts with the crustal plate.

The volcanoes of  Germany seem to have errupted recently as a result of some transient event.

Most volcanic structures sit on the margins of the crustal plates - andmove with the crustal plates.

The volcanic island chains of the Pacific may have much more to do withstresses in a very large oceanic plate that result from a major crustal movementevent. When the plate is stressed, cracks propagate fom the ends of existingcracks and provide a fresh path for molten magma to reach the surface andcreate a new volcano. Where the older parts of the crack have been filledwith injections of magama, this may relieve the stress, and remain more plastic,effectively sealing the route for further volcanic activity.

If the theory of crustal overturn is correct, then a major period of volcanic activity would be expected along the edge of crustal plates immediately following the overturn. many of the volcanoes that errupted would be small, and rapidly return to dormancy. There should be a marked decline in the activity of small volcanoes over the last 10 000 years. This activity and its decline should be most marked in the zones of maximum stress during the overturn : a line through Central and South America,  and the regions close to the Philipines and Japan.

Volcanic systems outside this main stress zone, and even many of those inside it need not have been triggered by the crustal overturn. There are plenty of examples of severe earthquakes in volcanic systems not triggering erruptions.

This information is copyright Peter Thomson 2001-2004