The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP): A Review

Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 46)


The Central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP) consists of basic rocks emplaced as shallow intrusions and erupted in large lava flow fields over a land surface area in excess of 10 million km2 on the supercontinent Pangaea at about 201 Ma. The peak activity of the CAMP straddled the Triassic-Jurassic boundary and probably lasted less than 1 million years, while late activity went on for several Ma more into the Sinemurian. Emission of carbon and sulfur from the CAMP magmas and from intruded sediments probably caused extinctions at the end-Triassic. Intrusive rocks are represented by isolated dykes up to 800 km-long, by dense dyke swarms and by extremely voluminous sills and a few layered intrusions. Lava fields were erupted as short-lived pulses and can be traced over distances of several hundred km within sedimentary basins. They consist of either compound or simple pahoehoe flows. Globally, the intrusive and effusive rocks are estimated to represent an original magmatic volume of at least 3 million km3. Herein we subdivide the CAMP basalts for the first time into six main geochemical groups, five represented by low-Ti and one by high-Ti rocks. Except for one low-Ti group, which is ubiquitous throughout the entire province, all other groups occur in relatively restricted areas and their compositions probably reflect contamination from the local continental lithosphere. Major and trace elements and Sr-Nd-Pb-Os isotopic compositions indicate that the basaltic magmas had an enriched composition compared to Mid-Ocean Ridge basalts and different from Atlantic Ocean Island basalts. The enriched composition of CAMP basalts is only in part attributable to crustal contamination. It also probably requires subducted upper and lower continental crust material that enriched the shallow upper mantle from which CAMP basalts were generated. A contribution from a deep mantle-plume is not required by geochemical and thermometric data, but it remains unclear what other possible heat source caused mantle melting on the scale required to form CAMP.


Large igneous province End-Triassic Radioisotopic ages Mantle melting Volcanic Thermogenic gases 



This work is a contribution to the following collaborative research projects: (i) PICS, CNRS (France)-CNRST (Morocco) to HB and NY, (ii) CNRi (Italy)-CNRST (Morocco) to AM and NY and (iii) FCT (Portugal)-CNRST (Morocco) to NY, (iv) PRIN (20158A9CBM) CARIPARO (Eccellenza 2008) and Progetto di Ateneo 2013 (Università di Padova, CPDA132295/13; all to AM). JDC acknowledges the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute for Advanced Study (Delmenhorst, Germany) for financial support. We acknowledge also the precious help from numerous colleagues all around the world, including: P.R. Renne, E.M. Piccirillo, M. Ernesto, A. De Min, G. Bellieni, S. Cirilli, E. Vasconcellos, T. Sempere, R. Weems, L. Tanner, J. Puffer, G. McHone, D. Kontak, M. Bensalah, F. Medina, A. Mahmoudi, C. Chabou, A. Meddah, L. Martins, J. Madeira, J. Mata, and C.M. Meyzen. R. Weems and J. Puffer provided very detailed and helpful reviews, which substantially improved the original text. This work would not have been possible without the careful editorial work of L. Tanner.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di. GeoscienzeUniversità di PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Applied GeologyCurtin UniversityBentleyAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED)University of OsloOsloNorway
  4. 4.Institute for Advanced StudyHanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK)DelmenhorstGermany
  5. 5.Sciences de la Terre et de l’EnvironnementUniversité de GenèveGenèveSwitzerland
  6. 6.Department of Geology, Faculty of Sciences-SemlaliaCadi Ayyad UniversityMarrakeshMorocco
  7. 7.Instituto Dom Luiz, Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  8. 8.Laboratoire de Géologie de LyonUniversité Lyon 1 and Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, UMR CNRS 5276LyonFrance
  9. 9.Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques, UMR 7358 CNRSUniversité de LorraineNancyFrance
  10. 10.Australian National University, Research School of Earth SciencesActonAustralia

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