A Huge Subterranean ‘Tree’ Is Moving Magma to Earth’s Surface

Deep in the mantle, a branching plume of intensely hot material appears to be the engine powering vast volcanic activity.

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Réunion, a French island in the western Indian Ocean, is like a marshmallow hovering above the business end of a blowtorch. It sits above one of Earth’s mantle plumes—a tower of superheated rock that ascends from the deep mantle and flambées the bases of tectonic plates, the jigsaw pieces that make up the ever-changing face of the world. The plume’s effects are hard to miss: One of the island’s two massive

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