Even relatively small volcanic eruptions can have significant impacts on global climate. The eruption of El Chichón in 1982 involved only 0.38 km3 of magma (Varekamp et al., 1984); the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1993 involved 3-5 km3 of magma (Westrich and Gerlach, 1992). Both these eruptions produced statistically significant climate signals lasting months to years. Over Earth’s history, magmatism has occurred on vastly larger scales than those of the Pinatubo and El Chichón eruptions. Super-eruptions often expel thousands of cubic kilometres of material; large igneous provinces (LIPs) can encompass millions of cubic kilometres of magma. The environmental impact of such extraordinarily large volcanic events is controversial. In this work, we explore the unique aspects of LIP eruptions (with particular attention to the Siberian Traps), and the significance of these traits for climate and atmospheric chemistry during eruptive episodes. As defined by Bryan and Ernst (2008), LIPs host voluminous (> 100,000 km3) intraplate magmatism where the majority of the magmas are emplaced during short igneous pulses. The close temporal correlation between some LIP eruptions and mass extinction events has been taken as evidence supporting a causal relationship (Courtillot, 1994; Rampino and Stothers, 1988; Wignall, 2001); as geochronological data become increasingly precise, they have continued to indicate that this temporal association may rise above the level of coincidence (Blackburn et al., 2013).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)