Morphology of rubbly pahoehoe (simple) flows from the Deccan Volcanic Province: implications for style of emplacement

Duraiswami, Raymond A.; Bondre, Ninad and Managave, Shreyas (2008). Morphology of rubbly pahoehoe (simple) flows from the Deccan Volcanic Province: implications for style of emplacement. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 177(4) pp. 822–836.



Lava flows with preserved bases and brecciated upper crusts constitute a morphological type that differs in character from typical pahoehoe and a'a: such flows have been reported from many provinces around the world. Previous studies had referred to these flows informally as ‘pahoehoe flows with rubbly tops’, ‘broken-top pahoehoe’ and ‘rubbly pahoehoe’. Recent studies have formally applied the latter term to describe parts of the well-studied Laki flow in Iceland as well as flows from the Columbia River Basalt province. Rubbly pahoehoe flows are abundant in the upper stratigraphic formations of the Deccan Volcanic Province (DVP), and are more commonly known as simple flows. This study presents detailed observations of such flows from various parts of the DVP and discusses their implications for understanding flow emplacement. These flows, which appear to be single units at the outcrop-scale, are generally much thicker and significantly more extensive than individual pahoehoe lobes that dominate the lower formations of the Deccan stratigraphy. They are characterised by preserved, gently undulating tachylitic bases but variably disrupted crustal zones that grade into flow-top breccias. The breccias are constituted of highly vesicular and oxidised fragments of varying sizes that appear to have been derived from previously formed pahoehoe crusts. Previous work has indicated that the morphology of these flows might be related to initial inflation, accompanied by rapid volatile exsolution and an increase in effusion rate and/or viscosity with time. This agrees reasonably well with the qualitative and quantitative models of emplacement developed for the Laki flow. The abundance of such flows in the upper formations of the Deccan stratigraphy clearly hints at a significant shift in the nature of the Deccan eruptions; this could be indicative of higher eruption rates during this period. This, in turn, raises the possibility of hazardous impact on the climate during the eruption of these flows, which is also discussed in the paper

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