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Earth Science

Speaker: Clive Neal
University of Notre Dame

Spring '13 Earth Science Thursday Speaker Series - Title - How LIPs Talk to Us: Origins, Evolution, and Environmental Impact of Large Igneous Provinces

Thursday, January 17, 2013
4:00 PM  to 5:00 PM

100  McMurtry College
Rice University
6100 Main St
Houston, Texas, USA

Abstract: Large igneous provinces (LIPs) and associated seamounts represent vast outpourings of magma that have no modern day equivalent. These outpourings generally occur over a relatively short time period (3-5 million years) and build enormous igneous edifices that reach the size of western Europe or Greenland. Such LIPs appear to have an origin outside conventional plate tectonic theory and were originally considered to have been formed by surfacing plumes from the Earth’s core-mantle boundary. However, as more data has become available through ocean drilling and terrestrial fieldwork discrepancies between observation and the plume model are becoming apparent, which has prompted alternative hypotheses to be formulated. One group of hypotheses posits that LIPs and associated seamounts can be generated entirely within the upper mantle through plate tectonic processes and a protracted formation period. Another calls upon an extraterrestrial origin of LIPs through meteoroid impact with the LIP formed from the impact melt. This lecture will examine each of the hypothesis for LIP formation using the Ontong Java Plateau as an example. In conjunction with this, the environmental impact of LIP formation will also be explored. Formation of oceanic LIPs (ocean plateaus) is often coincidental with widespread ocean anoxia. Formation of continental LIPs (continental flood basalts) have been coincidental with the largest mass extinctions this planet has known.

Biography of Clive Neal: http://engineering.nd.edu/profiles/cneal

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