Double Flood Basalts and Plume Head Separation at the 660-Kilometer Discontinuity

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Science  25 Nov 1994:
Vol. 266, Issue 5189, pp. 1367-1369
DOI: 10.1126/science.266.5189.1367


Several of the world's flood basalt provinces display two distinct times of major eruptions separated by between 20 million and 90 million years. These double flood basalts may occur because a starting mantle plume head can separate from its trailing conduit upon passing the interface between the upper mantle and the lower mantle. This detached plume head eventually triggers the first flood basalt event. The remaining conduit forms a new plume head, which causes the second eruptive event. The second plume head is predicted to arrive at the lithosphere at least 10 million years after the first plume head, in general agreement with observations regarding double flood basalts.