Deccan Traps

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Located in west-central India, the Deccan Traps is one of the largest volcanic features on Earth. It consists of a layer of solidified basalt more than 2,000 m thick, and covers an area of 500,000 km2 (roughly the same size as the states of Washington and Oregon combined). The Deccan Traps formed between 60 and 65 million years ago, and the gasses released in the process may have played a role in the extinction of the dinosaurs. Before it was reduced to its current size by erosion and continental drift, it is estimated that the original area covered by the lava flows were as high as 1.5 million km2. The volume of basalt is estimated to have been 512,000 km3. It is postulated that the Deccan Traps eruption is associated with a deep mantle plume or hot spot. The plume or hot spot caused the continent to break apart, with India drifting north away from the hot spot which now lies under Reunion Island.

The planet Venus is also thought to undergo vast basaltic flood eruptions, but on an even greater scale than those at Deccan Traps. It is not known whether the mechanisms are similar; Venus appears to lack Earth's plate tectonics and its internal structure may differ in other ways as well.