Journal of Earth System Science

, Volume 113, Issue 4, pp 771–784 | Cite as

Two- and three-dimensional gravity modeling along western continental margin and intraplate Narmada-Tapti rifts: Its relevance to Deccan flood basalt volcanism

  • Somdev Bhattacharji
  • Rajesh Sharma
  • Nilanjan Chatterjee


The western continental margin and the intraplate Narmada-Tapti rifts are primarily covered by Deccan flood basalts. Three-dimensional gravity modeling of +70mgal Bouguer gravity highs extending in the north-south direction along the western continental margin rift indicates the presence of a subsurface high density, mafic-ultramafic type, elongated, roughly ellipsoidal body. It is approximately 12.0 ±1.2 km thick with its upper surface at an approximate depth of 6.0 ±0.6 km, and its average density is {dy2935} kg/m3. Calculated dimension of the high density body in the upper crust is 300 ±30 km in length and 25 ±2.5 to 40 ±4 km in width. Three-dimensional gravity modeling of +10mgal to -30mgal Bouguer gravity highs along the intraplate Narmada-Tapti rift indicates the presence of eight small isolated high density mafic bodies with an average density of {dy2961} kg/m3. These mafic bodies are convex upward and their top surface is estimated at an average depth of 6.5 ±0.6 (between 6 and 8km). These isolated mafic bodies have an average length of 23.8 ±2.4km and width of 15.9 ±1.5km. Estimated average thickness of these mafic bodies is 12.4±1.2km. The difference in shape, length and width of these high density mafic bodies along the western continental margin and the intraplate Narmada-Tapti rifts suggests that the migration and concentration of high density magma in the upper lithosphere was much more dominant along the western continental margin rift. Based on the three-dimensional gravity modeling, it is conjectured that the emplacement of large, ellipsoidal high density mafic bodies along the western continental margin and small, isolated mafic bodies along the Narmada-Tapti rift are related to lineament-reactivation and subsequent rifting due to interaction of hot mantle plume with the lithospheric weaknesses (lineaments) along the path of Indian plate motion over the Réunion hotspot. Mafic bodies formed in the upper lithosphere as magma chambers along the western continental margin and the intraplate Narmada-Tapti rifts at estimated depths between 6 and 8 km from the surface (consistent with geological, petrological and geochemical models) appear to be the major reservoirs for Deccan flood basalt volcanism at approximately 65 Ma.


Gravity modeling Bouguer gravity rift Deccan volcanism 


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© Printed in India 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Somdev Bhattacharji
    • 1
  • Rajesh Sharma
    • 1
  • Nilanjan Chatterjee
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeologyBrooklyn College and Graduate Center of the City University of New YorkBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary SciencesMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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