M.C. Boulter & S.B. Manum write: Kale et al 1992 challenge the assumptions and methods of Mitchell & Widdowson (1991) concerning the age and structure of the Deccan Trap volcanic province of India. We would like to contribute two ideas that have so far eluded this discussion. The first is to compare the features of the Deccan province with those of the Brito-Arctic Igneous Province (Holmes 1918) in the northernmost North Atlantic Ocean; the second is to question the reliability of some of the palynological and geophysical evidence implicit in your earlier correspondents acceptance of Sahni & Bajpai’s (1988) suggested Maastrichtian age.

Unlike the Deccan Traps, the Brito-Arctic Igneous Province does not cover a large, continuous landmass, but consists of disjunct packages of basalt in localities as far apart as the British Isles, the Faeroe Islands and eastern Greenland (Fig. 1). The suggestion by Holmes (1918) and others that the disjunct basalts were temporally and genetically related had little substance until recently (Boulter & Manum 1989). Like the Deccan Traps, the ages indicated for the basalts of the Brito-Arctic Igneous Province were for a long time equivocal, ranging broadly from Late Cretaceous to early Tertiary.

An understanding of the origins and structure of the Brito-Arctic Igneous Province developed from studies carried out within the international Deep Sea Drilling Project. Site 338 of DSDP Leg 38, drilled at the continental margin off the coast of central Norway, was designed to study the very earliest opening history of the North Atlantic Ocean.

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