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Journal of Environmental Geology

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The pockmark stars: radial structures in the seabed surrounding the Hawaii Islands

Author(s): Roberto Spina*

Over the last few years the use of advanced satellite and bathymetric detection systems has enabled the identification of pockmark aggregates of different shapes and sizes, which are frequently developed along preferential directions, in many sea basins. The bathymetric observations of the seabed near Hawaii Island revealed the existence of special sea star-shaped structures due to radial alignment and coalescence of pockmark groups. In some areas interactions between very close pockmarks have been observed. Similar star structures have been found in other parts of the world and a common feature is the presence of magmatic underplating. Tomographic images, seismic data and direct observation of about 100 of these structures suggest that the most likely genetic mechanisms are attributable to the stress field induced by rising and stationing of small volumes of magmatic plumes. The presence of these particular structures could be a key to explaining some questions about Hawaii’s magmatism.

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