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Plume of Molten Rock That Formed Hawaii Extends Through Earth's Core

November 19, 1998

The plume of molten rock that formed the Hawaiian Islands extends all the way through the Earth's mantle to its core, a full 1,800 miles, researchers from UC Santa Cruz report in today's Nature. Using seismic waves from earthquakes to perform a kind of computed tomography like that used in hospitals, Earth scientist Thorne Lay and his colleagues determined that the molten rock flows horizontally across the surface of the core before rising straight up to the surface.

Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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