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Large Igneous Provinces

LIPs realted to plume heads - animation may take a few second to load
The main manifestations of plume heads on the earth's surface are a number of so-called Large Igneous Provinces or LIPs. These consist of very large areas of basalt, either as plateau basults on land (e.g. the Deccan Traps of India) or large submarine plateaus (e.g. Kerguelen Plateau) or smaller submarine edifices entirely below the present surface of the oceans. Often these features are accompanied by dyke swarms and/or igneous intrusions. When dated, the main features usually cluster around a rather short time interval, indicating a brief but intense period of magmatic activity at the time the plume head first 'struck'. Later plume activity is often less intense but, nevertheless, long-lived. Trails of plume activity, often with some periods of rejuvenation, are found across the ocean floors (e.g. the Walvis Ridge off southwest Africa). Minor oceanic islands, still with occasional volcanic activity, can be found (e.g. Bouvet island) associated with mantle plumes that broke out more than 180 million years ago. A number of hotspots show similar trails (e.g. Cameroon volcanic line) but lack the large areas of initial extrusion.
The animation shows the development of the LIP record over time, 200 to 0 Ma, based on our latest Mantle Plume Reference Frame model that places the Bouvet ('Karoo') plume central in Gondwana disruption. A fuller explanation is given in Reseacrh Update No.21. Areas of basalt are shown in red-brown, appearing at a time that reflects the dates published, where available. Some of the known dyke swarms are shown as purple lines (e.g. the Okavango dyke swarm in southern Africa) and a few large intrusions are purple with a red outline (e.g. Dufek in Antarctica). Many islands and submarine features are too small to show at this scale. It should be remembered that erosion has probably removed much of the volcanic sequences on land and it is only the present-day outlines of plateaus that are shown.
Last update: 2024 February 1