Emplacement of inflated Pāhoehoe flows in the Naude’s Nek Pass, Lesotho remnant, Karoo continental flood basalt province: use of flow-lobe tumuli in understanding flood basalt emplacement

Jay, Anne E.; Marsh, Julian S.; Fluteau, Frédéric and Courtillot, Vincent (2018). Emplacement of inflated Pāhoehoe flows in the Naude’s Nek Pass, Lesotho remnant, Karoo continental flood basalt province: use of flow-lobe tumuli in understanding flood basalt emplacement. Bulletin of Volcanology, 80(17)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-017-1189-6

Abstract

Physical volcanological features are presented for a 710-m-thick section, of the Naude’s Nek Pass, within the lower part of the Lesotho remnant of the Karoo Large Igneous Province. The section consists of inflated pāhoehoe lava with thin, impersistent sedimentary interbeds towards the base. There are seven discreet packages of compound and hummocky pāhoehoe lobes containing flow-lobe tumuli, making up approximately 50% of the section. Approximately 45% of the sequence consists of 14 sheet lobes, between 10 and 52-m-thick. The majority of the sheet lobes are in two packages indicating prolonged periods of lava supply capable of producing thick sheet lobes. The other sheet lobes are as individual lobes or pairs, within compound flows, suggesting brief increases in lava supply rate. We suggest, contrary to current belief, that there is no evidence that compound flows are proximal to source and sheet lobes (simple flows) are distal to source and we propose that the presence of flow-lobe tumuli in compound flows could be an indicator that a flow is distal to source. We use detailed, previously published, studies of the Thakurvadi Formation (Deccan Traps) as an example. We show that the length of a lobe and therefore the sections that are ‘medial or distal to source’ are specific to each individual lobe and are dependent on the lava supply of each eruptive event, and as such flow lobe tumuli can be used as an indicator of relative distance from source.

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