Deccan Traps

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The Deccan Traps is a large igneous province located in west-central India and is one of the largest volcanic features on Earth. It consists of multiple layers of solidified flood basalt that together are more than 2,000 m thick and covers an area of 500,000 km².

The Deccan Traps formed between 60 and 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period. The gasses released in the process may have played a role in the extinction of the dinosaurs. Before it was reduced to its current size by erosion and continental drift, it is estimated that the original area covered by the lava flows was as large as 1.5 million km². The volume of basalt is estimated to have been 512,000 km³.

It is postulated that the Deccan Traps eruption is associated with a deep mantle plume or hotspot. The plume or hotspot, known as the Réunion hotspot, is suspected of causing both the Deccan Traps eruption and opening the rift that once separated the Seychelles plateau from India. Seafloor spreading at the boundary between the Indian and African Plates subsequently pushed India north over the hotspot, which now lies under Réunion island in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India.

A large impact crater has been recently reported in the sea floor off the west coast of India. Called the Shiva crater, it has also been dated at 65 million years, right at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary. The researchers suggest that the impact may have been the triggering event for the Deccan Traps as well as contributing to the acceleration of the Indian plate in the early Tertiary. [1] (http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2003AM/finalprogram/abstract_58126.htm) However, opinion in the geologic community is not unanimous that this feature is actually an impact crater. [2] (http://www.spacedaily.com/news/deepimpact-04r.html)

The planet Venus is also thought to undergo vast basaltic flood eruptions, but on an even greater scale than those at Deccan Traps. It is not known whether the mechanisms are similar; Venus appears to lack Earth's plate tectonics and its internal structure may differ in other ways as well.fr:Trapps du Deccan

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