Leg 115 of the Ocean Drilling Program recovered basalts from four locations along the hotspot track that leads from the Deccan flood basalts in India to Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean (Sites 706, 707, 713, and 715). The drilled basalts range in age from 35 Ma (Site 706) to 64 Ma (Site 707), and including the Deccan basalts (66 to 68 Ma), Mauritius Island (0.2 to 8 Ma), and Reunion Island (0 to 2 Ma), seven sites are provided for sampling the volcanic record of the 5000-km-long hotspot track. Chemical and age comparisons indicate that Site 707 lavas correlate with basalt units near the top of the Deccan flood basalt sequence. The lavas of Site 715 (55 to 60 Ma) are most similar to the islands of Mauritius and Reunion. Site 713 basalts (48 Ma) are similar to the earliest lavas of the Deccan province, and Site 706 basalts are intermediate in chemistry between those of central Indian spreading-ridge basalts and Reunion. Differences in lava compositions along the hotspot track can be related to variable mixing of plume and asthenospheric mantle, depending on the changing position of spreading-ridge segments and the hotspot during the opening of the Indian Ocean. Alternatively, time-dependent changes in the composition of hotspot melts may be due to a decrease in partial melting of a heterogeneous plume or to intrinsic changes in the composition of material supplied by the plume.

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