Short Course on Extreme Volcanism

Scientist-in-Residence Dr. Richard Ernst is teaching a Short Course on Extreme Volcanism at the University of California-Riverside. The course is being broadcast to the NASA Astrobiology group. 


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Short Course on Extreme Volcanism at UC-Riverside


Course Outline 

9 - 10 a.m. Phanerozoic LIPs
Associated silicic, carbonatite, and kimberlite magmatism 

10:15 - 11:15 a.m. Precambrian & planetary LIPs
Analogs on other terrestrial bodies in the solar system

12:45 - 1:45 p.m. LIPs and associated tectonics
Rifting, topographic changes, and contractional effects

2 - 3 p.m. LIPs and resource exploration 
Minerals, metals, hydrocarbons, and water  



What are LIPs?

Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) are voluminous, mostly mafic to ultramafic magmatic events thatoccur primarily in intraplate settings—both continental and oceanic. They are typically of shortduration (<5 million years) or consist of multiple short pulses over a maximum of a few tens ofmillions of years. They are further characterized by flood basalts and a plumbing system of dykeswarms, sill complexes, layered intrusions, and crustal underplating. LIPs have occurredapproximately every 20 to 30 million years back to at least 2.5 billion years ago, with profoundimplications for diverse global-scale processes, including climate and evolution of life.

How do LIPs affect climate and biology?

In the broadest sense, LIPs can trigger shifts among icehouse, greenhouse, and hothouse climaticstates. Flood basalt degassing produces CO2, SO2, and halogens; voluminous life-impacting gases arealso released from volatile-rich sedimentary rocks heated during LIP emplacement. Subsequentcooling (and even global glaciations) can result from sulfate aerosols and CO2 drawdown linked toweathering of LIP-related basalts. Additional kill mechanisms associated with LIPs include oceanicanoxia, ocean acidification, sea level change, toxic metal input, and essential nutrient perturbations.