Continental tholeiitic flood basalt provinces

  • Marjorie Wilson


Large areas of the continents appear to have been covered by vast thicknesses of laterally extensive basaltic lava flows at various stages during the past 1000 Ma, apparently fed from fissures rather than central vent volcanoes. These are referred to as continental flood basalt provinces or CFBs. Originally they were considered to be characterized by the eruption of chemically uniform Fe-rich tholeiitic basalts (Kuno 1969). However, as we shall see in Section 10.6, more recent studies have revealed significant chemical diversity within individual provinces. Nevertheless, most are dominated by eruptions of relatively evolved tholeiitic basalts which show some similarity in terms of their mineralogy and major element chemistry to MORB (Ch. 5), although their trace element characteristics are more akin to those of enriched MORB and oceanic-island tholeiitites (Ch. 9). Next to MORB, they form the largest volcanic features on Earth and like MORB are also generated in extensional tectonic environments.


Partial Melting Mantle Source Deccan Trap Crustal Contamination Flood Basalt 
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Further Reading

  1. Basaltic Volcanism Study Project 1981. Basaltic volcanism on the terrestrial planets. 30–107. New York: Pergamon PressGoogle Scholar
  2. Cox, K. G. 1980. A model for flood basalt volcanism. J. Petrol. 21, 629–50.Google Scholar
  3. Cox, K. G. C. J. -Hawkesworth 1985. Geo-chemical stratigraphy of the Deccan Traps at Mahabaleshwar, Western Ghats, India, with implications for open system magmatic processes. J. Petrol. 26, 355–77.Google Scholar
  4. Dupuy, C óz J. Dostal 1984. Trace element geochemistry of some continental tholeiites. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 67, 61–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Erlank, A. J. (ed.) 1984. Petrogenesis of the volcanic rocks of the Karoo province. Geol. Soc. South Africa Spec. Publ. 13, 395 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Huppert, H. E R. S. J. Sparks 1985. Cooling and contamination of mafic and ultramafic magmas during ascent through the continental crust. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 74, 371–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Leeman, W. P. C. J. Hawkesworth 1986. Open magma systems: Trace element and isotopic constraints. J. Geophys. Res. 91, 5901–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Thompson, R. N., M. A. Morrison, A. P. Dickin & G. L. Hendry 1983. Continental flood basalts… arachnids rule OK? In Continental basalts and mantle xenoliths, C. J. Hawkesworth & M. J. Norry (eds), Nantwich: Shiva. 158–85.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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