Science & Engineering Faculty

Deccan volcanism at K-Pg time

Publication Date Jun 21, 2022


ABSTRACT The last major mass extinctions in Earth history (e.g., end-Guadalupian, end-Permian, end-Triassic, and end-Cretaceous) are all correlated closely in time with the main-phase eruptions of major flood basalt provinces (Emeishan, Siberian, Central Atlantic Magmatic Province, and Deccan Traps, respectively). The causal relationship between flood volcanism and mass extinction is not clear, but likely involves the climate effects of outgassed volatile species such as CO2, SO2, Cl, F, etc., from some combination of magma and country rocks. In a surprising “coincidence,” the end-Cretaceous (K-Pg boundary) micro-faunal extinction also corresponds precisely in time to what may have been the largest meteor impact of the past billion years of Earth history, the Chicxulub crater at 66.05 Ma. The Deccan Traps eruptions were under way well before K-Pg/Chicxulub time and are most likely the result of the mantle plume “head” that initiated the presently active Reunion hotspot track—thus the Deccan Traps were clearly not generated, fundamentally, by the impact. However, recent high-precision 40Ar/39Ar geochronology indicates that conspicuous changes in basalt geochemistry, lava flow morphology, emplacement mode, and a possible 50% increase in eruption rate at the Lonavala/Wai subgroup transition in the Deccan Traps lava group corresponded, within radioisotopic age precision, to the K-Pg boundary and the Chicxulub impact. This has led to the testable hypothesis that the Mw ~11 seismic disturbance of the Chicxulub impac...


Deccan Traps Billion Years Of Earth History Deccan Volcanism Central Atlantic Magmatic Province Increase In Eruption Rate Lava Flow Morphology Major Mass Extinctions Chicxulub Impact Basalt Geochemistry Emplacement Mode

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