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Abstract:

The Early Permian (290 Ma) Panjal Traps are the largest contiguous outcropping of volcanic (basaltic, andesitic and silicic) rocks within the Himalaya that are associated with the Late Palaeozoic break-up of Gondwana. The basaltic Panjal Traps have compositional characteristics that range from continental tholeiite to ocean-floor basalt but it is clear that crustal contamination has played a role in their genesis. The basalts that show limited evidence for contamination have Sr–Nd isotopes (87Sr/86Sri = 0.7043–0.7073; εNd(t) = 0 ± 1) similar to a chondritic (subcontinental lithospheric mantle) source, whereas the remaining basaltic rocks have a wide range of Nd (εNd(t) = −6.1 to +4.3) and Sr (87Sr/86Sri = 0.7051–0.7185) isotopic values. The primary melt composition of the low-Ti Panjal Traps is picritic with mantle potential temperatures (TP = 1400°C to 1450°C) similar to ambient mantle. The silicic volcanic rocks were derived by partial melting of the crust, whereas the andesitic rocks were derived by mingling between crustal and mantle melts. The Panjal Traps initially erupted within a continental rift setting. The rift eventually transitioned into a nascent ocean basin that led to seafloor spreading and the formation of the Neotethys Ocean and the ribbon-like continent Cimmeria.

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