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Recycling of Flow-Top Breccia Crusts into Molten Interiors of Flood Basalt Lava Flows: Field and Geochemical Evidence from the Deccan Traps

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Topics in Igneous Petrology

Abstract

Thick flood basalt lava flows cool conductively inward from their tops and bases, usually developing columnar jointing. Although relatively rapid cooling in such flows due to meteoric water circulation has been previously demonstrated, mixing of the surface crust with the interior – as observed in active lava lakes – has not been shown. Here we report large radial columnar jointing structures (rosettes) with cores of highly brecciated, weathered and amygdaloidal material within Deccan flood basalt lava flows. The morphology of such breccia-cored rosettes, petrographic observations, and geochemical data, particularly Nd–Sr isotopic ratios, all suggest that the features formed due to the sinking of the flow-top breccia crusts into these flows’ molten interiors and the resultant warping of isotherms around these “cold anchors”. Thus, cooling in some thick flood basalt lava flows may be accelerated by sinking of cooler upper crusts into hotter, molten interiors.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Vilas Bhosale, Vinit Phadnis and Cliff Ollier for company and assistance on various field trips, and Deepak Joshi, Alok Kumar, Anil D. Shukla and Shilpa Netrawali for help with the isotopic, XRF and ICP measurements. The XRF used at PRL is a part of the PLANEX facilities of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Very intensive discussions with Ninad Bondre are greatly appreciated, and discussions with Stephen Self have also been helpful. We thank Jyotisankar Ray for his kind invitation to contribute this paper to this volume. The paper was significantly improved and tightened by the reviews of Gautam Sen and Surendra Pal Verma. Senthil Kumar thanks the Director, NGRI for permission to publish this paper.

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Correspondence to Hetu C. Sheth .

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Sheth, H.C., Ray, J.S., Kumar, P.S., Duraiswami, R.A., Chatterjee, R.N., Gurav, T. (2011). Recycling of Flow-Top Breccia Crusts into Molten Interiors of Flood Basalt Lava Flows: Field and Geochemical Evidence from the Deccan Traps. In: Ray, J., Sen, G., Ghosh, B. (eds) Topics in Igneous Petrology. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-9600-5_8

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