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New K-Ar ages of the Society Islands, French Polynesia, and implications for the Society hotspot feature


We report 52 new K-Ar age determinations of volcanic rocks from the Society Islands in French Polynesia. The newly obtained ages range from 0.51 to 4.61 Ma, which are consistent with previously reported ones. The magnetostratigraphy based on 45 data sets combining K-Ar ages and paleomagnetic polarity agrees with the geomagnetic polarity time scale at the 2s level, except for a few age data. Assuming the absolute motion of the Pacific plate, paleopositions of the dated rocks are estimated from the K-Ar ages, showing a narrow distribution in the western part of the easternmost volcano of the active hotspot region. This suggests that a hotspot of a few tens of kilometers in diameter might have been fixed nearly at the eastern margin of the presently active region in the Society archipelago and that the volcanism of each island might have persisted for about 1 myr.


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Correspondence to H. Tsunakawa.

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Uto, K., Yamamoto, Y., Sudo, M. et al. New K-Ar ages of the Society Islands, French Polynesia, and implications for the Society hotspot feature. Earth Planet Sp 59, 879–885 (2007).

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  • K-Ar ages
  • Society Islands
  • magnetostratigraphy
  • hotspot
  • paleoposition