The eruptive tempo of Deccan volcanism in relation to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary

1,2 Courtney J. Sprain,1,3Paul R. Renne4Loÿc Vanderkluysen,5Kanchan Pande,1Stephen Self,1Tushar Mittal
Science 363, 866-870 Link to Article [DOI: 10.1126/science.aav1446]
1Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, 307 McCone Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-4767, USA.
2Geomagnetism Laboratory, Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZE, UK.
3Berkeley Geochronology Center, 2455 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA 94709, USA.
4Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science, Drexel University, 3245 Chestnut Street, PISB 123, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
5Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai 400 076, India.
Reprinted with permission of AAAS

Late Cretaceous records of environmental change suggest that Deccan Traps (DT) volcanism contributed to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (KPB) ecosystem crisis. However, testing this hypothesis requires identification of the KPB in the DT. We constrain the location of the KPB with high-precision argon-40/argon-39 data to be coincident with changes in the magmatic plumbing system. We also found that the DT did not erupt in three discrete large pulses and that >90% of DT volume erupted in <1 million years, with ~75% emplaced post-KPB. Late Cretaceous records of climate change coincide temporally with the eruption of the smallest DT phases, suggesting that either the release of climate-modifying gases is not directly related to eruptive volume or DT volcanism was not the source of Late Cretaceous climate change.

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