Abstract

The hypothesis of a fixed melting spot reference frame (M) for relative plate motion is tested in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, where the Kodiak-Bowie seamount chain intersects the northern triple junction between the Pacific, American, and Juan de Fuca plates. Available age determinations on Kodiak and Giacomini Seamounts provide an estimated average rate of volcanic propagation along the chain of 6.5 cm per yr and allow estimates of plate movements relative to the melting spot. The inferred motion of the American plate relative to M is close to that observed along the Yellowstone-Snake River Plain volcanic trend and broadly supports the concept of a fixed melting spot reference frame. However, the convex northward curvature of the Kodiak-Bowie chain and of several chains to the south does not support the hypothesis. The lack of parallelism between these seamounts and the Hawaiian chain suggests slow relative movement between the Kodiak-Bowie and Hawaiian melting spots.

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