Flood Basalts


Flood basalts are yet another strange type of "volcano." Some parts of the world are covered by thousands of square kilometers of thick basalt lava flows - individual flows may be more than 50 meters thick, and individual flows extend for hundreds of kilometers. The old idea was that these flows went whooshing over the countryside at incredible velocities (e.g., like a flash flood). The new idea is that these flows are emplaced more like flows, namely slow moving with most of the great thickness being accomplished by injecting lava into the interior of an initially thin flow. The most famous US example of a flood basalt province is the Columbia River Basalt province, covering most of SE Washington State and extending all the way to the Pacific and into Oregon. The Deccan Traps of NW India are much larger and the Siberian Traps are even larger than that (but poorly understood). The Ontong Java plateau may be an oceanic example of a flood basalt province.


Click here for more information on the Columbia River Flood Basalts

Click here for more information on the Deccan Traps