Magma Transport Pathways in Large Igneous Provinces: Lessons from Combining Field Observations and Seismic Reflection Data

  • Craig MageeEmail author
  • Richard E. Ernst
  • James Muirhead
  • Thomas Phillips
  • Christopher A.-L. Jackson
Part of the Springer Geology book series (SPRINGERGEOL)


Large Igneous Province (LIP) formation involves the generation, intrusion, and extrusion of significant volumes (typically > 1 Mkm3) of mainly mafic magma and is commonly associated with episodes of mantle plume activity and major plate reconfiguration. Within LIPs, magma transport through Earth’s crust over significant vertical (up to tens of kilometres) and lateral (up to thousands of kilometres) distances is facilitated by dyke swarms and sill-complexes. Unravelling how these dyke swarms and sill-complexes develop is critical to: (i) evaluating the spatial and temporal distribution of contemporaneous volcanism and hydrothermal venting, which can drive climate change; (ii) determining melt source regions and volume estimates, which shed light on the mantle processes driving LIP formation; and (iii) assessing the location and form of associated economic ore deposits. Here, we review how seismic reflection data can be used to study the structure and emplacement of sill-complexes and dyke swarms. We particularly show that seismic reflection data can reveal: (i) the connectivity of and magma flow pathways within extensive sill-complexes; (ii) how sill-complexes are spatially accommodated; (iii) changes in the vertical structure of dyke swarms; and (iv) how dyke-induced normal faults and pit chain craters can be used to locate sub-vertical dykes offshore.


Seismic Reflection Data Large Igneous Province (LIP) Magma Transport Dyke Swarms Magma Flow 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



CM is funded by a Junior Research Fellowship at Imperial College London. REE was partially supported from Mega-Grant 14.Y26.31.0012 of the government of the Russian Federation. JDM is supported by National Science Foundation grant EAR-1654518. We would like to thank Rajesh Srivastava for editorial handling and an anonymous reviewer and Dougal Jerram for their comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig Magee
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Richard E. Ernst
    • 3
    • 4
  • James Muirhead
    • 5
  • Thomas Phillips
    • 1
    • 6
  • Christopher A.-L. Jackson
    • 1
  1. 1.Basins Research Group, Department of Earth Science and EngineeringImperial College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Department of Geology and GeographyTomsk State UniversityTomskRussia
  5. 5.Department of Earth SciencesSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  6. 6.Department of Earth SciencesDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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