Abstract

Research on the British Paleocene Igneous Province (BPIP) has historically focused on the emplacement, chemistry and chronology of its elaborate central intrusive complexes and lava fields. However, the BPIP has also been dramatically shaped by numerous erosion, sedimentation and volcano-tectonic events, the significance of which becomes ever clearer as localities in the BPIP are re-investigated and our understanding of volcano-sedimentary processes advances. The resultant deposits provide important palaeo-environmental, palaeo-geographical and stratigraphical information, and highlight the wide range of processes and events that occur in ancient volcanic settings such as the BPIP. In this paper we review the sedimentary and volcano-tectonic processes that can be distinguished in the BPIP, and conceptualize them within a generalized framework model. We identify, and describe, the sedimentary responses to four broadly chronological stages in the history of the BPIP volcanoes: (1) the development of the lava fields, (2) early intrusion-induced uplift, (3) caldera collapse and (4) post-volcano denudation and exhumation of central complexes. We highlight and illustrate the range of sedimentary processes that were active in the BPIP. These operated on and helped shape a dynamic landscape of uplands and lowlands, of alluvial fans, braided rivers, lakes and swamps, and of volcanoes torn apart by catastrophic mass wasting events and/or caldera collapse.

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