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Giant dikes, rifts, flood basalts, and plate tectonics: A contention of mantle models

By
J. Gregory McHone
J. Gregory McHone
Earth Science Education and Research, P.O. Box 647, Moodus, Connecticut 06469, USAgregmchone@snet.net; dla@gps.caltech.edu; beutele@cofc.edu; fialko@radar.ucsd.edu.
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Don L. Anderson
Don L. Anderson
California Institute of Technology, Seismological Laboratory 252-21, Pasadena, California 91125, USAgregmchone@snet.net; dla@gps.caltech.edu; beutele@cofc.edu; fialko@radar.ucsd.edu.
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Erin K. Beutel
Erin K. Beutel
Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina 29424, USAgregmchone@snet.net; dla@gps.caltech.edu; beutele@cofc.edu; fialko@radar.ucsd.edu.
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Yuri A. Fialko
Yuri A. Fialko
Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California–San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0225, USAgregmchone@snet.net; dla@gps.caltech.edu; beutele@cofc.edu; fialko@radar.ucsd.edu.
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Published:
January 2005

Giant dike swarms, often hundreds of kilometers long, have produced flood basalts in large igneous provinces since the early Proterozoic. Dike patterns described as radiating from a central source are actually syntectonic swarms that curve and diverge according to lithospheric stress regimes, but they are similar in origin to smaller swarms with parallel dikes. Giant radiating patterns of dikes do not characterize most hotspots or large igneous provinces, and they are not always linked to crustal uplift swells. These mafic intrusions and the fractures they follow are essentially features of plate tectonics, not products of indeterminable deep mantle plumes. As a compelling example, the Early Jurassic central Atlantic magmatic province and its associated Pangaean rift zone are evidential products of subducted materials and convection in the upper mantle beneath the insulating Pangaean plate. Giant dike swarms were formed along lithospheric structures through plate tectonics, not by a coincidental deep mantle plume.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Plates, plumes and paradigms

Edited by
Gillian R. Foulger
Gillian R. Foulger
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James H. Natland
James H. Natland
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Dean C. Presnall
Dean C. Presnall
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Don L. Anderson
Don L. Anderson
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Geological Society of America
Volume
388
ISBN print:
9780813723884
Publication date:
2005

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