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No. 88: Jul-Aug 1993

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Antipodal Hotspot Pairs

Hotspots are isolated areas of the earth's crust where there is an unusually large amount of basaltic volcano activity. At present, over 120 hotspots are recognized by geophysicists -- and they are not distributed randomly about the globe. In fact, many seem to be diametrically opposite one another, as described by M.R. Rampino:

"The observed number of antipodal hotspot pairs depends on the maximum allowable deviation from exact antipodality, At a maximum deviation of 700 km, 26% to 37% of hotspots form antipodal pairs in the published lists examined here, significantly more than would be expected from the general hotspot distribution. Two possible mechanisms that might create such a distribution include: (1) symmetry in the generation of mantle plumes; and (2) melting related to antipodal focusing of seismic energy from large-body impacts."

(Rampino, Michael R.; "Antipodal Hotspot Pairs on the Earth," Geophysical Research Letters, 19:2011, 1992.)

Similar Phenomenon. On the moon, the magcons (magnetic concentrations) seem to be located diametrically opposite large lunar impact basins. See ALZ3 in The Moon and the Planets. This catalog volume is described here.

From Science Frontiers #88, JUL-AUG 1993. 1993-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987