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Structure and emplacement of the Coastal Deccan tholeiitic dyke swarm in Goa, on the western Indian rifted margin

  • Raghav GadgilEmail author
  • Anthony Viegas
  • Sridhar D. Iyer
Research Article

Abstract

Mafic dyke swarms, when controlled by a regional stress field, are emplaced perpendicular to the minimum principal compressive stress direction. However, mafic dyke swarms may also exploit pre-existing structural fabric in their host rocks. Distinguishing between the two scenarios is important for correct geodynamic understanding of magmatic events. Continental flood basalt provinces such as the Deccan Traps of India represent huge fissure eruptions produced by swarms of mafic dykes. The Coastal dyke swarm of the Deccan, along the western Indian rifted margin, is one of its three major dyke swarms. We present a field study of the Goa dykes, part of the Coastal swarm. The dykes are typical dolerites and basalts exposed in Proterozoic-age basement; lava flows which these dykes may have once fed have been stripped away by erosion, though exposed in the Western Ghats escarpment ~ 100 km to the east. The Goa dyke swarm contains 60 dykes, some of which form larger multiple-injection dykes. The dykes are short compared to typical (kilometers or tens of kilometers long) dykes in flood basalt provinces such as the Deccan or Iceland, and range in length from ~ 15 to ~ 220 m and in thickness from 3 cm to 20 m. Most dykes are vertical and the others dip steeply in various directions. Their structural attributes and internal features (such as vesicular zones and columnar jointing) provide clues to the processes of magma flow and solidification in the dykes. Field measurements yield an average crustal dilation of 8% due to dyke emplacement. Calculations of magmatic overpressures and magma chamber depths generally yield unrealistic values owing to the low aspect ratios of the dykes. Based on comparisons between the dyke trends and the host rock joint trends, we consider that a few of the Goa dykes were emplaced along pre-existing fractures, but the orientations of the great majority of the dykes reflect contemporaneous stress fields. Based on crosscutting relationships, we infer that the regional minimum horizontal compressive stress (σ3) changed over time from a ~E-W orientation to a ~NE-SW orientation and finally to a ~N-S direction.

Keywords

Volcanism Continental flood basalt Dyke swarm Deccan traps Goa 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work forms a part of the PhD dissertation of Raghav Gadgil at Goa University. Gadgil is grateful to all his dissertation and project students of 2014-2019 batches at Goa University and Dhempe College, and especially to Akshay Tari for the valuable field assistance on many occasions. He also thanks his wife Shweta Gadgil for domestic support and encouragement in this research. He is grateful to Tapas Kumar Biswal, Paul Bons, Elena Druguet, Agust Gudmundsson, and Hetu Sheth for the helpful email discussions over the past several years, Peter C. Rickwood and Rajesh K. Srivastava for providing relevant literature, and Hetu Sheth for the photograph in Fig. 6c. Goa University and Dhempe College of Arts and Science are acknowledged for hosting this study. Sridhar D. Iyer thanks the Director, CSIR-NIO for providing facilities. The authors thank Hetu Sheth and Agust Gudmundsson for the detailed and constructive reviews and Valerio Acocella and Andrew Harris for their editorial handling and valuable comments that greatly improved this manuscript.

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© International Association of Volcanology & Chemistry of the Earth's Interior 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth ScienceGoa UniversityTaleigao PlateauIndia
  2. 2.Department of GeologyDhempe College of Arts and SciencePanajiIndia
  3. 3.Formerly with Geological Oceanography Division, CSIR-National Institute of OceanographyDona PaulaIndia

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