Comparison of modeling results with observed subsidence patterns from the West Siberian Basin provides new insight into the origin of the Siberian Traps, and constrains the temperature, size, and depth of an impacting mantle plume head during and after the eruption of the Siberian Traps at the Permian-Triassic boundary (250 Ma). We compare subsidence patterns from one-dimensional conductive heat flow models to observed subsidence from backstripping studies of wells in the basin. This results in a best-fit scenario with a 50-km-thick initial plume head with a temperature of 1500 °C situated 50 km below the surface, and an initial regional crustal thickness of 34 km, in agreement with published values. Backstripping and modeling results agree very well, including a 60–90 m.y. delay between the rifting phase and the first regional sedimentation. Regional subsidence patterns indicate that the plume head was present across a minimum area of ∼2.5 × 106 km2. These results re-emphasize the viability of a mantle plume origin for the Siberian Traps, provide important constraints on the dynamics of mantle plume heads, and suggest a thermal control for the subsidence of the West Siberian Basin.

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