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Several workers have suggested that the locations of melting anomalies (hotspots) and the original locations of large igneous provinces (LIPs) and kimberlite pipes lie preferentially above the margins of two large low-shear-velocity provinces, or LLSVPs, near the bottom of the mantle, and that the geographical correlations have high confidence levels (>99.9999%). They conclude that the LLSVP margins are “plume-generation zones”, and that deep-mantle plumes cause hotspots, LIPs, and kimberlites. This conclusion raises questions about what physical processes could be responsible, because, for example, the LLSVPs are apparently dense and not abnormally hot.

The supposed LIP-hotspot-LLSVP correlations probably are examples of...

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