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Hawaii heat source debated

New study suggests a pancake, not a plume, formed the island chain

1:53pm, May 26, 2011

Like a pig at a luau, the Hawaiian Islands get roasted from below. But — like novice cooks — scientists aren’t sure what kind of heat it takes to really get things cooking.

A new analysis questions the prevailing theory that the islands were formed in sequence by volcanic activity as the Pacific plate drifted over a thin, hot plume rising from deep inside the Earth. Instead, a shallower pocket of abnormally hot rocks could be powering the vacation spot’s famous

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