VGP Spotlight Features

Dennis Geist's Highly Biased Favourite 10 Articles Written on Ocean Island Volcanoes

Dennis Geist’s highly biased favorite 10 articles written on ocean island volcanoes. If you are under 60, go read these. If you are over 50 go read them again. Note that these are not ranked, they are in random order. The list does not include volcanic arcs and neglects more than 100 extremely important works:

  1. Darwin, C., Sowerby, G. B., Lonsdale, W., & Forbes, E. (1876). Geological Observations on the Volcanic Islands and Parts of South America Visited During the Voyage of HMS ʻBeagle.’. Smith, Elder, & Company.
    Cited 122 times.
    • You have to start with Darwin. He all but invented ocean island geology. If you have not read this book, turn off the Kardashians and go read it now.

  2. Macdonald, G. A., and Katsura, T. (1964) Chemical Composition of Hawaiian Lavas, Journal of Petrology 5 (1): 82-133 doi:10.1093/petrology/5.1.82
    Cited 1508 times
    • I’m a petrologist, and this is the standard on which all other work on rocks from oceans islands is based.

  3. McBirney, A.R. and Williams, H. (1969) Geology and Petrology of the Galápagos Islands, Geological Society of America Memoirs, 118, p. 1-197, doi:10.1130/MEM118-p1
    Cited 252 times
    • Ok it’s my favorite archipelago and my mentor, but every time I read this book I learn something that some other petrologist has since rediscovered.

  4. Carmichael, I. C. E. (1964) The Petrology of Thingmuli, a Tertiary Volcano in Eastern Iceland, Journal of Petrology 5 (3): 435-460 doi:10.1093/petrology/5.3.435
    Cited 499 times
    • The most important work on igneous differentiation in its time. A remarkable mineralogical and petrologic characterization of an Icelandic volcano by a giant in the field. He is father, grandfather, or great grandfather to so many of today’s petrologists that it’s mind boggling. Check out the Carmichael phylogeny in Contributions when you get a chance.

  5. Einarrson, T., Kjartansson, G., & Þórarinsson, S. (Eds.). (1967). The eruption of Hekla, 1947-1948 (Vol. 1). HF Leiftur.
    Cited 34 times
    • Probably the most important study linking the eruptive style and processes and the petrologic evolution of one of the world’s great volcanoes. Thorarinsson was both a giant and a pioneer.

  6. Montelli, R., Nolet, G., Dahlen, F. A., Masters, G., Engdahl, E. R., & Hung, S. H. (2004). Finite-frequency tomography reveals a variety of plumes in the mantle. Science, 303(5656), 338-343.
    Cited 737 times
    • There have been a lot of seismic studies that use tomography to image the deep source of ocean island magmas. This is my favorite. I don’t understand the seismology, but the images are remarkable, and the article came out when the plume denialists were at their zenith. And I got Raphaella’s old desk.

  7. Wilson, J. T. (1963). A possible origin of the Hawaiian Islands. Canadian Journal of Physics, 41(6), 863-870 and Morgan, W. J. (1971). Convection plumes in the lower mantle.
    Cited 889 times and 1863 times.
    • Ok, it’s two papers but I’m running out of space. These two works laid out the hotspot theory and proposed the existence of mantle plumes. Wilson’s is the only paper I’ve ever cited from the Canadian Journal of Physics, and they are just nice people.

  8. White, W. M., & Hofmann, A. W. (1982). Sr and Nd isotope geochemistry of oceanic basalts and mantle evolution. Hofmann, A. W., & White, W. M. (1982). Mantle plumes from ancient oceanic crust. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 57(2), 421-436. Hofmann, A. W. (1997). Mantle geochemistry: the message from oceanic volcanism. Nature, 385(6613), 219-229.
    Cited 550, 1046, and 1597 times
    • Now I’m getting desperate and combining 3 articles. But these are by the same folks and all smell the same. This stuff came out when I was a grad student and really formed the basis of the renaissance of island studies. They prompted a generation of research and pioneered a new approach to whole-earth geochemistry.

  9. Gast, P. W., Tilton, G. R., & Hedge, C. (1964). Isotopic composition of lead and strontium from Ascension and Gough Islands. Science, 145(3637), 1181-1185. Zindler, A., & Hart, S. (1986). Chemical geodynamics. Annual review of earth and planetary sciences, 14, 493-571. Schilling, J. G. (1973). Iceland mantle plume: geochemical study of Reykjanes Ridge. Nature, 242, 565-571.
    Cited 212, 2960 and 748 times.
    • Gast discovered that ocean islands had distinctive isotopic compositions, then Schilling set the framework for Hofmann and White’s theory for the origin of ocean island volcanoes by melting of recycled oceanic lithosphere. Hart and Zindler took off and ran with it. No one could contemplate thinking about ocean islands and their relation to global geodynamics without knowing these papers.

  10. Kurz, M. D., Jenkins, W. J., and Hart, S. R., 1982, Helium isotope systematics of ocean islands and mantle heterogeneity, Nature 297, 43. Kurz, M. D., Jenkins, W. J., Hart, S. R., & Clague, D. (1983). Helium isotopic variations in volcanic rocks from Loihi Seamount and the Island of Hawaii. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 66, 388-406. Rison, W., & Craig, H. (1983). Helium isotopes and mantle volatiles in Loihi Seamount and Hawaiian Island basalts and xenoliths. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 66, 407-426.
    Cited 377, 284, and 196 times
    • The helium isotope geochemistry of ocean island basalts turned mantle geodynamics on its head, especially the discovery of very high 3He/4He at Loihi. I used to love to hear the arguments at AGU in the old days; there was not a lot of love among the players, and this discovery really seemed to trouble some people.

Honorable Mention

Wallace, A. R. (2007). The Malay Archipelago. Cosimo, Inc.
Cited 848 times.

Can’t make the list because it violates the no-arcs clause. But along with Darwin, made the important observation of the ocean island biota and how that relates to the geologic history of islands. The organisms from ocean islands served as the basis for the theory of biological evolution, and the biological evolution is closely tied to the geologic evolution.