Deccan Traps Were Formed By Two Magma Plumes, Says Study

Posted: Feb 11 2017, 4:46am CST | by , Updated: Feb 11 2017, 4:59am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Deccan Traps were formed by Two Magma Plumes, Says Study
An section of Deccan Traps. Credit: Gerta Keller
 

Using computer simulation, researchers try to depict events that occurred in India 66 million years ago

Not one but two magma plumes created Deccan Traps around 66 million years ago. The event is also attributed to triggering one of the greatest mass extinctions on Earth that wiped out dinosaurs and gave rise to new lineages of birds and animals.

Deccan Traps, located in west-central India, are one of the largest volcanic features on Earth. But researchers still know very about little about how they were formed. The site had experienced extremely powerful volcanic activity in the past, so powerful that it would have covered an area as large as the state of California in a pile of lava.

Prior research has suggested that Deccan Traps were stem from single plume that now lies directly below France’s Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. But new research reveals that this massive volcanic feature was the result of two, rather than one magma plume, each of which alone immensely impacted the Earth’s climate. The eruption not only led to the formation of Deccan Traps but also supposedly contributed to the mass extinction of dinosaurs.

To better understand how Deccan Traps were created, two researchers from University of Quebec reconstructed the conditions of the region over the past 60 million years ago using computer simulations and altered the data to see how the model responds under different circumstances. Researchers were surprised to found that their model showed two plumes fueling two eruptions simultaneously for approximately 10 million years until Deccan Traps were formed. One of them was under Réunion, as expected while other called the Comoros plume is located in Africa’s east coast. 

Researchers Petar Glišović and Alessandro Forte ran computer simulations to depict events that contributed to Deccan Traps in India over 60 million years ago.

“The continental flood basalts in India known as the Deccan Traps formed from a massive outpouring of lava around the time that dinosaurs went extinct. The event dramatically reshaped the landscape and altered the climate. Glišović and Forte used time-reversed convection modeling to reconstruct the origin of this giant magmatic event. They found that two different deep mantle hotspots joined forces about 65 million years ago to produce one of the largest volcanic features on Earth.” Study says.

The model further suggested that the Comoros hotspot slowed approximately 40 million years ago while Réunion continued to spew large amount of lava for another 20 million years. Both plumes still exist today, but do not look anything like they used to be.

 

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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