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Mantle plumes and mantle dynamics in the Wilson cycle

Heron, Philip J.

Mantle plumes and mantle dynamics in the Wilson cycle Thumbnail


Philip J. Heron


This review discusses the thermal evolution of the mantle following large-scale tectonic activities such as continental collision and continental rifting. About 300 myr ago, continental material amalgamated through the large-scale subduction of oceanic seafloor, marking the termination of one or more oceanic basins (e.g. Wilson cycles) and the formation of the supercontinent Pangaea. The present day location of the continents is due to the rifting apart of Pangaea, with the dispersal of the supercontinent being characterized by increased volcanic activity linked to the generation of deep mantle plumes. The discussion presented here investigates theories regarding the thermal evolution of the mantle (e.g. mantle temperatures and sub-continental plumes) following the formation of a supercontinent. Rifting, orogenesis and mass eruptions from large igneous provinces change the landscape of the lithosphere, whereas processes related to the initiation and termination of oceanic subduction have a profound impact on deep mantle reservoirs and thermal upwelling through the modification of mantle flow. Upwelling and downwelling in mantle convection are dynamically linked and can influence processes from the crust to the core, placing the Wilson cycle and the evolution of oceans at the forefront of our dynamic Earth.


Heron, P. J. (2019). Mantle plumes and mantle dynamics in the Wilson cycle. Geological Society Special Publications, 470,

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Nov 19, 2018
Publication Date Apr 8, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 4, 2019
Publicly Available Date Feb 5, 2019
Journal Geological Society Special Publications
Print ISSN 0305-8719
Electronic ISSN 2041-4927
Publisher The Geological Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 470


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (5.3 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © 2018 The Author(s). Published by The Geological Society of London<br /> This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (

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