pISSN 0705-3797 eISSN 2586-1298
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Episodes 2007; 30(1): 32-42

Published online March 1, 2007


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Identification of mantle plumes in the Emeishan Large Igneous Province

Yi-Gang Xu1, Bin He1, Xiaolong Huang1, Zhenyu Luo1, Sun-Lin Chung2, Long Xiao3, Dan Zhu1, Hui Shao1, Wei-Ming Fan1, Jifeng Xu1, Yue-Jun Wang1

1Key Laboratory of Isotope Geochronology and Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 510640 Wushan, Guangzhou, China. E-mail: yigangxu@gig.ac.cn
2Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan gniversity, Taipei 10699, Taiwan, China
3China gniversity of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The plume hypothesis has been recently challenged largely because some fundamental aspects predicted by the modeling of plumes are found to be lacking in some classic hotspot regions. This review paper summarizes recent achievements made in the late Permian Emeishan continental flood basalt province in southwest China. Data from various disciplines are evaluated by comparing observation against prediction of the plume hypothesis. It is shown that 7 out of the 9 most convincing arguments in support of mantle plumes are found in the Emeishan large igneous province (LIP). In particular, sedimentological data show unequivocal evidence for a lithospheric doming event prior to the Emeishan volcanism. This observation, the presence of hightemperature magmas, emplacement of immense volume of magmas over a short time span and the spatial variation in basalt geochemistry are all consistent with predictions of plume modeling, thus providing strong support for the validity of the mantle plume hypothesis.