2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 68-7
Presentation Time: 3:10 PM


VANDERKLUYSEN, Loyc, Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, SELF, Stephen, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 20555;, also at Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK76AA, United Kingdom, JAY, Anne E., The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom, SHETH, Hetu C., Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai, 400076, India and CLARKE, Amanda B., School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 876004, Tempe, AZ 85287-6004, loyc@drexel.edu

Transitions in the style of lava flow emplacement are recognized in the stratigraphic sequence of several mafic large igneous provinces (LIPs), including the Etendeka (Namibia), the Faeroe Islands (North Atlantic LIP), the Ethiopian Traps, and the Deccan Traps (India). These transitions, from units dominated by meter-sized pāhoehoe toes and lobes to those dominated by inflated sheet lobes tens to hundreds of meters in width and meters to tens of meters in height, seems to be a fundamental feature of LIP emplacement. In the Deccan, this volcanological transition is thought to coincide with deeper changes to the volcano-magmatic system expressed, notably, in the trace element and isotopic signature of erupted flows, dike emplacement pattern, and eruptive tempo. We investigated this transition in the Deccan Traps by logging eight sequences along the Western Ghats, an escarpment in western India where the Deccan province is thickest and best exposed. The Deccan province, which once covered ~1 million km2 of west-central India, is subdivided in eleven chemo-stratigraphic formations in the type sections of the Western Ghats. Where the lower Deccan formations are exposed, we found that as much as 65% of the exposed thickness (below the Khandala Formation) is made up of sheet lobes, from 40% in the Bhimashankar Formation to 75% in the Thakurvadi Formation. Near the bottom of the sequence, 25% of the Neral Formation is composed of sheet lobes ≥15 m in thickness. On this basis, the traditional view that inflated sheet lobes are an exclusive feature of the upper part of the stratigraphy must be challenged. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the development of compound flows and inflated sheet lobes, involving one or more of the following factors: underlying slope, varying effusion rate, and source geometry. Analogue experiments are currently under way to test the relative influence of each of these factors in the development of different lava flow morphologies in LIPs.