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Large Igneous Provinces

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Coffin, MF and Eldholm, O (2014) Large Igneous Provinces. Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. pp. 1-10. ISSN 1866-6299

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Abstract

Large igneous provinces (LIPs) are massive crustal emplacements of predominantly iron- and
magnesium-rich (mafic) rock that
form by processes other than normal seafloor spreading; they are the dominant form of near-surface
magmatism on the terrestrial planets and moons of our solar system. On the Earth’s surface, LIP
rocks are readily distinguishable from the products of the two other major types of magmatism –
mid-ocean ridge magmatism and arc magmatism – on the basis of petrologic, geochemical,
geochronological, geophysical, and physical volcanological data. LIPs occur both on the continents
and in the oceans, and include continental flood basalts, volcanic divergent margins, oceanic
plateaus, submarine ridges, seamount chains, and ocean-basin flood basalts (Figure 1 and Table 1).
LIPs and their contemporary small-scale analogues, hotspot volcanoes, are commonly attributed to
decompression melting of hot low-density mantle material ascending from the Earth’s interior in
mantle plumes, and thus provide a window into mantle processes. This type of magmatism currently
accounts for about 10% of the mass and energy flux from the Earth’s deep interior to its crust. The
flux may have been higher in the past, but is episodic over geological time, in contrast to the
relatively steady-state activity at seafloor spreading centres and subduction zones. Such
episodicity reveals dynamic non-steady- state circulation within the Earth’s mantle, perhaps
extending far back into Earth history, and suggests a strong potential for LIP
emplacements to contribute to, if not instigate, major environmental changes.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences
Page Range: pp. 1-10
ISSN: 1866-6299
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.09087-4
Additional Information:

Copyright 2014 Elsevier

Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2014 00:12
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:59
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