Deccan Traps, India

17-24N, 43-47E
Elevation: 4,000 feet (1,200 m)


The Ajunta Caves were carved over four centuries beginning in 200 BC. More construction was done in the 6th and 7th centuries. The "caves" contain important examples of Buddhist architecture and sculpture. A contact between two lava flows passes through the knees of this statue. Photograph by Lazlo Keszthelyi, January 31, 1996.


Flow lobes exposed in a wall of the Ajunta temple. Small features such as these suggest that slow emplacement of flows during eruptions lasting months or years. Photograph by Lazlo Keszthelyi, January 31, 1996.

Geologists have postulated that the Deccan Trap volcanism is associated with a deep mantle plume or hot spot. The plume or hot spot caused the continent to break apart. India has drifted north, away from the hot spot which is now under Reunion.

More information on the Deccan

Sources of Information:

Bhattacharji, S., Chatterjee, N., Wampler, J.M., Nayak, P.N., and Deshnukh, S.S., 1996, Indian intraplate and continental margin rifting, lithospheric extension, and mantle upwelling in Deccan flood basalt volcanism near the K/T boundary: evidence from mafic dike swarms: Journal of Petrology, v. 104, p. 379-398.

Beane, J.E., Turner, C.A., Hooper, P.R., and Subbarao, K.V., and Walsh, J.N., 1986, Stratigraphy, composition and form of the Deccan Basalts, western Ghats, India.

Krishnan, M.S., 1953, The structural and tectonic history of India: Mem. Geological Survey of India, 81: 109 p.

Officer, C.B., and Drake, C.L., 1985, Terminal Cretaceous environment events: Science, v. 227, p. 1161-1167.

Rampino, M.R., and Stothers, R.B., 1988, Flood basalt volcanism during the past 250 million years: Science, v. 241, p. 663-668.

Self, S., Thordarson, T., and Keszthelyi, L., 1996, Inflation features as keys to the emplacement of pahoehoe lava flow fields in the Columbia River Basalt Group, in Conference Abstracts Long Lava Flows, Whithead, P., ed.: James Cook University, Queensland, p. 72-73.

Self, S., Finnemore, S.L., Walker, G.P.L., and Thordarson, T., 1993, How are flood basalt lavas emplaced? -- A case of the tortoise and the hare, IAVCEI Abstracts, Canberra, Australia, p. 98.

White, R.S., and McKenzie, D.P., 1989, Magmatism at rift zones: the generation of volcanic continental margins and flood basalts: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 94, p. 7,685-7,730.



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