Coordinates: 67°N 90°E / 67°N 90°E / 67; 90
The extent of the
Siberian Traps (Map in German)
Siberian Traps (Russian: Сибирские траппы,
Sibirskiye trappy) form a large region of volcanic rock, known as a
large igneous province, in Siberia, Russia. The massive eruptive event
which formed the traps, one of the largest known volcanic events of
the last 500 million years of Earth's geological history, continued
for a million years and spanned the Permian–Triassic boundary, about
251 to 250 million years ago.
The term "traps" is derived from the Swedish word for stairs (trappa,
or sometimes trapp), referring to the step-like hills forming the
landscape of the region, which is typical of flood basalts.
1 Geographical extent
3 Impact on prehistoric life
4 Mineral deposits
5 See also
7 External links
Vast volumes of basaltic lava covered a large expanse of
Siberia in a
flood basalt event. Today the area covered is about 2 million
square kilometres (770,000 square miles)—roughly equal to western
Europe in land area—and estimates of the original coverage are as
high as 7 million square kilometres (2,700,000 sq mi).
The original volume of lava is estimated to range from 1 to
4 million cubic kilometres (240,000–960,000 cu mi).
The area covered lies between latitude 50° and 75° north and
longitude 60° to 120° east.
The source of the
Siberian Traps basalt has been attributed to a
mantle plume, which reached the base of the Earth's crust causing
volcanic eruptions through the Siberian Craton. It has been
suggested that, as the Earth's lithospheric plates moved over the
mantle plume (the Iceland plume), the plume produced the Siberian
Traps in the Permian and Triassic periods, later going on to produce
volcanic activity on the floor of the Arctic Ocean in the Jurassic and
Cretaceous, and then generating volcanic activity in Iceland since
the Late Cretaceous. Other plate tectonic causes have also been
suggested. Another possible cause may be the impact that formed the
Wilkes Land crater
Wilkes Land crater in Antarctica, which may have been contemporaneous
and would have been nearly antipodal to the Traps. As of
2004[update], this scientific debate was ongoing.
Siberian Traps are considered to have erupted from numerous
volcanic vents over a period of roughly a million years or more,
probably east and south of
Norilsk in Siberia. The volume of
individual eruptions of basalt lavas could have exceeded
2,000 km3 (480 cu mi).
The presence of extensive tuff and pyroclastic deposits suggests that
a number of large explosive eruptions occurred during or before the
eruptions of basaltic lavas. The presence of silicic volcanic rocks
such as rhyolite is also indicative of explosive eruptions.[citation
One of the World Heritage Sites, the Putorana Plateau, is composed of
Impact on prehistoric life
This massive eruptive event spanned the Permian-Triassic boundary,
about 250 million years ago, and is cited as a possible cause of the
Permian-Triassic extinction event. One of the major questions is
Siberian Traps were directly responsible for the
Permian-Triassic mass extinction event that occurred 250 million years
ago, or if they were themselves caused by some other, larger event,
such as an asteroid impact. A recent hypothesis put forward is that
the volcanism was a trigger that led to an explosion of the growth of
Methanosarcina, a microbe that then spewed enormous amounts of methane
into Earth's atmosphere.
This extinction event, also called the Great Dying, affected all life
on Earth, and is estimated to have killed about 95% of all species
living at the time. Life on land took at least 30 million
years to fully recover from the environmental disruptions which may
have been caused by the eruption of the Siberian Traps.
Calculations of sea water temperature from δ18O measurements indicate
that at the peak of the extinction, the Earth underwent lethally hot
global warming, in which equatorial ocean temperatures exceeded
40 °C (104 °F).
Paleontological evidence further indicates that the global
distribution of tetrapods vanished, with very rare exceptions in the
Pangaea that is today Utah, between latitudes bounded by
approximately 40°S to 30°N. The tetrapod gap of equatorial Pangaea
coincides with an end-Permian to Middle Triassic global "coal gap"
that indicates the loss of peat swamps. Peat formation, a product of
high plant productivity, was reestablished only in the
of the Triassic, and even then only in high southern latitudes,
although gymnosperm forests appeared earlier (in the Early Spathian),
but again only in northern and southern higher latitudes. In
equatorial Pangaea, the establishment of conifer-dominated forests was
not until the end of the Spathian, and the first coals at these
latitudes did not appear until the Carnian, ~15 million years after
their end-Permian disappearance. These signals suggest equatorial
temperatures exceeded their thermal tolerance for many marine
vertebrates at least during two thermal maxima, whereas terrestrial
equatorial temperatures were sufficiently severe to suppress plant and
animal abundance during most of the Early Triassic.
The giant Norilsk-Talnakh nickel–copper–palladium deposit formed
within the magma conduits in the most complete part of the Siberian
Traps. It has been linked to the Permian–Triassic extinction
event, which occurred approximately 251.4 million years ago, based
on large amounts of nickel and other elements found in rock beds that
were laid down after the extinction occurred. The method used to
correlate the extinction event with the surplus amount of nickel
located in the Siberian Traps, is by comparing the timeline of the
magmatism within the traps and the timeline of the extinction
itself. Before the linkage between magnetism[clarify] and the
extinction event was discovered, it was hypothesized that the mass
extinction and volcanism occurred at the same time due to the linkages
in rock composition.
^ a b Sun, Yadong; Joachimski,Wignall,Yan,Chen,Jiang,Wang,La (October
27, 2013). "Lethally Hot Temperatures During the Early Triassic
Greenhouse". Science. 338: 366–70. doi:10.1126/science.1224126.
PMID 23087244. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list
^ a b "New Studies of Permian Extinction Shed Light On the Great
Dying", New York Times, April 30, 2012. Retrieved on May 2, 2012.
^ Trap at dictionary.reference.com
^ a b Foulger, G.R. (2010). Plates vs. Plumes: A Geological
Controversy. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-6148-0.
^ Morgan, W. Jason; Morgan, Jason Phipps (2007), "Plate velocities in
hotspot reference frame: electronic supplement" (PDF), in Foulger,
Gillian R. and Jurdy, Donna M.; (editors), Plates, Plumes, and
Planetary Processes, Geological Society of America (
430), retrieved 2017-02-25 CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter
^ von Frese, R. R. B.; Potts, L. V.; Wells, S. B.; Leftwich, T. E.;
Kim, H. R.; Kim, J. W.; Golynsky, A. V.; Hernandez, O.; Gaya-Piqué,
L. R. (2009). "GRACE gravity evidence for an impact basin in Wilkes
Land, Antarctica". Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 10: Q02014.
Bibcode:2009GGG....1002014V. doi:10.1029/2008GC002149. Retrieved
2012-06-20. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
^ Czamanske, Gerald K.; Fedorenko, Valeri A. The Demise of the
Siberian Plume, January 2004.
^ a b "Could Siberian volcanism have caused the Earth's largest
extinction event?", Eurekalert!, 9 January 2012. Retrieved on 12
^ Erwin, Douglas H. (January 1994). "The Permo-Triassic Extinction".
Nature. 367: 231–236 – via Google Scholar.
^ "Methane-spewing Microbe Blamed in Earth's Worst Mass Extinction"
Scientific American, April 2014, Retrieved on April 7,2014.
^ Benton M J (2005). When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass
Extinction of All Time. Thames & Hudson.
^ Sahney, S. & Benton, M.J. (2008). "Recovery from the most
profound mass extinction of all time" (PDF). Proceedings of the Royal
Society B: Biological Sciences. 275 (1636): 759–65.
doi:10.1098/rspb.2007.1370. PMC 2596898 .
^ Ryabov, V. V.; Shevko, A. Ya.; Gora, M. P. (2014). Trap Magmatism
and Ore Formation in the Siberian Noril'sk Region (Volume 1: Trap
Petrology). Springer Netherlands. ISBN 978-94-007-5021-0.
^ Becker, Luann; Poreda, Robert J.; Hunt, Andrew G.; Bunch, Theodore
E.; Rampino, Michael (23 Feb 2001). "Impact Event at the
Permian-Triassic Boundary: Evidence from Extraterrestrial Noble Gases
in Fullerenes". Science. 291: 1530–1533.
^ Barnes, Stephen; Mungall, Emma; Mungall, James; Le Vaillant, Margaux
(February 2017). "Role of Degassing of the Noril'sk
Nickel Deposits in
the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction Event". Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 10:
^ Bowring, S.A.; Muirhead, J.D.; Burgess, S.D. (July 2017). "Initial
Siberian Traps Sills As The Trigger of the End-Permian Mass
Extinction". Nature Communications. 8: 1–6.
^ Burgess, Seth D.; Bowring, Samuel A. (28 August 2015).
"High-precision geochronology confirms voluminous magmatism before,
during, and after the Earth's most severe extinction". Earth Science.
1 – via Science Advances.
"The Siberian Traps" by Richard Cowen
Siberian Traps Large Igneous Province"
"Toxic Gases Caused World's Worst Mass Extinction"
Large igneous provinces
Agulhas Plateau (Northeast Georgia Rise, Maud Rise)
Ethiopian and Yemen Highlands
Franklin (Franklin dike swarm)
High Arctic (Sverdrup Basin)
Kerguelen (Broken Ridge)
Mackenzie (Coppermine River
Mackenzie dike swarm)
Paraná and Etendeka