The Marie Byrd Seamounts, a group of eight large volcanoes on the seafloor off the coast of West Antarctica, were formed about 60 million years ago when part of the Earth's crust pulled apart and fossilized mantle-plume material escaped to the surface, according to a report by Germany's GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiehl. This goes against another theory that they were formed by a hotspot. "The Marie Byrd Seamounts are particularly interesting, since they represent an example for enigmatic intraplate volcanism which cannot be explained with the 'classical' model ... for the origin of volcanism within the Earth plates and, therefore, requires alternative models," said study co-author Reinhard Werner.

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