The research, published this week in the journal Nature, involved an international team of geoscientists from the United States, Australia, UK and Denmark.
The study found that Hawaiian volcanoes formed along twin tracks — named the Loa and Kea tracks after the largest volcanoes in their sequence — due to a shift in the Pacific Plate’s direction 3 million years ago.
“Scientists had known of the existence of the Loa and Kea tracks since 1849, but the cause of them had remained a mystery until now,” said lead author Tim Jones, a Ph.D. student in the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University.
“The discovery helps to better reconstruct Earth’s history and understand part of the world that has captivated people’s imagination.”
“The analysis we did on past Pacific Plate motions is the first to reveal that there was a substantial change in motion 3 million years ago.”
“It helps to explain …