Abstract

40Ar/39Ar incremental-heating studies have been carried out on three whole-rock specimens from the Siberian Traps. A basalt lava flow from the lowermost horizon yields an age of 238.4 ±1.4 Ma (1σ error). A second basalt lava flow from the top of the section, ∼800 m above the first specimen, yields an age of 229.9 ±2.3 Ma, indicating that the duration of volcanism was ∼5-10 m.y. A doleritic dike intrusive into the lower parts of the Siberian Traps contains excess argon and yields an isochron age of 234 ±7 Ma. Critical reexamination of relevant radiometric data relating two separate episodes of flood-basalt volcanism to global faunal extinctions suggests the volcanic event forming the most voluminous sections of the Deccan Traps, India, was coincident to within ±1 m.y. with the time of the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. However, the onset of volcanism in the Siberian Traps apparently occurred at a time postdating that of the Permian/Triassic boundary.

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