Meteorite Impact Origin of Yellowstone Hotspot

Full-Text HTML XML Download Download as PDF (Size:604KB) PP. 412-419
DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2016.64038    624 Downloads   851 Views  


Origin of the Yellowstone hotspot & Columbia River Basalts has remained uncertain until now. Here, we present evidence of meteorite impact origin. The hotspot is shallow, only 200 km deep, invalidating a theory of mantle plume origin. The hotspot track runs from the Yellowstone National Park in NW Wyoming to the volcanic Modoc Plateau in NE California. We present evidence of apparent remnants of an impact crater existing in the Modoc, a large multi-ring structure at least 160 km diameter. Much of the complex crater has become obliterated by later Cascadia and Sierra orogenies. The crater has a tall 4,100 foot central uplift cone, locally known as Chalk Mountain, consisting of diatomaceous earth, presumably the rebound cone of a meteorite impact. This falsifies a theoretical prohibition of cosmic impact volcanism. Based on recent insights into explosive volcanism a plausible mechanism is proposed for how meteorite impacts can lead to resurgent calderas of the Yellowstone type, & of apparent LIP origin from thin crust ET impacts, invalidating theoretical constructs of mantle plumes. We mention chaotic terrains, including plutons, arising antipodal to impacts.

Cite this paper

Burchard, H. (2016) Meteorite Impact Origin of Yellowstone Hotspot. Open Journal of Philosophy, 6, 412-419. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2016.64038.


[1] Anderson, D. L., & Natland, J. H. (2005). A Brief History of the Plume Hypothesis and Its Competitors: Concept and Controversy. In G. R. Foulger, J. H. Natland, D. C. Presnall, & D. L. Anderson, Eds., Plates, Plumes, & Paradigms, GSA Special Paper 388, 119-145.
[2] Bowens, T. E., & Gross, L. T. (1998). Geology and Mineral Deposit Reconnaissance in the Stone Coal Valley Region, Modoc County, California. Thesis (M.Sc.), Colorado School of Mines.
[3] Bowens, T. E., & Gross, L. T. (2001). Probable Mid-Miocene Caldera in the Modoc Plateau, Northeast California, Details. AGU Fall Meeting.

[4] Christiansen, R. L., Foulger, G. R., & Evans, J. R. (2002). Upper-Mantle Origin of the Yellowstone Hotspot. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 114, 1245-1256.<1245:umooty>;2

[5] Fouch, M. J. (2012). The Yellowstone Hotspot: Plume or Not? Geology, 40, 479-480.

[6] Foulger, G. R. (2006). Yellowstone.

[7] Gilbert, J. S., & Sparks, R. S. J. (Eds.) (1998). The Physics of Explosive Volcanic Eruptions. Geologial Society Special Publication 145, London: The Geologial Society.
[8] Ivanov, B. A., & Melosh, H. J. (2003). Impacts Do Not Initiate Volcanic Eruptions: Eruptions Close to the Crater. Geology, 31, 869-872.

[9] Morgan, W. J. (1971). Convection Plumes in the Lower Mantle. Nature, 230, 42-43.

[10] Richards, M. A., Alvarez, W., Self, S., Karlstrom, L., Renne, P. R., Manga, M., Sprain, C. J., Smit, J., Vanderkluysen, L., & Gibson, S. A. (2015). Triggering of the Largest Deccan Eruptions by the Chicxulub Impact. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 127, 1507-1520.

[11] Sparks, R. S. J. (2003). Dynamics of Magma Degassing. In C. Oppenheimer, D. M. Pyle, & J. Barclay, Eds., Volcanic Degassing, London: The Geological Society.

[12] Wilson, J. T. (1963). A Possible Origin of the Hawaiian Islands. Canadian Journal of Physics, 41, 863-870.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2017 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.