Hilton: Iceland is very unusual because normally it would be part of the submarine Mid-Atlantic ridge, but something is under the source of Iceland to produce so much melting, such that it now is emerging over sea level and people think that this is a hot spot. And one of the tests that we want to do is to see how much primordial material is contributing to the Icelandic hotspots.
Narrator: Hilton's field expeditions offered the scientists unprecedented access to processes that take place deep in the earth's mantle. They analyzed different types of isotopes, including helium, carbon and nitrogen.
Hilton: Each isotopic system gives us different information.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.