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Abstract:

Deccan volcanism was synchronous with rifting along the west coast of India. Pre- and synmagmatic rifting has been widely reported in the Deccan Volcanic Province, but extension post-dating magmatism, and predating India–Eurasia collision, is less well known. A recent study in the Kachchh area of western India documented weathering of basalts to kaolinite at the base of Cenozoic rift basins, with rift flanks relatively less altered to smectites, and this was attributed to post-magmatic rifting. This study models basalt weathering under open- and closed-system conditions to simulate rainwater interacting with basalts either on topographical slopes (within rifts) or on flat-topped hills (flow tops). Both systems were modelled under pCO2 conditions ranging from low, present-day values to higher values more appropriate for the end-Cretaceous–early Paleocene time, after basalt emplacement. The results show that if pCO2 exceeded values of 10−2.5, basalts would be altered to kaolinite in both open and closed systems. Existing pCO2 estimates in the aftermath of Deccan volcanism fall below this value, implying that the differential basalt weathering was more likely to have been caused by terminal to post-magmatic rifting. This indicates that extensional tectonics along the Indian west coast in the Kachchh region continued even after cessation of Deccan volcanism.

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