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Pacific volcanoes share split personality

Dual chemistry of island chains reflects variations in their deep source

By
11:07am, September 19, 2011

Hawaii’s scenic volcanoes come in two chemical flavors, and now scientists think the igneous peaks on several other Pacific island chains do, too.

Two parallel lines of volcanoes stretch from the Big Island of Hawaii in the southeast to Molokai in the northwest.  Volcanoes on the Samoan and Marquesas islands are similarly paired. A new study finds that, as in Hawaii, one row is richer than the other in versions of elements such as lead and neodymium.

“This might be a common feature for all the Pacific hotspots,” says Shichun Huang, a geochemist at Harvard University and lead author of a paper ap

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