History of Research
Geological Setting
Area and Volume
Radiometric Dating
Timing of the Traps and the Permo-Triassic boundary
Origin of Magmas
Plume or not?
End-Permian Extinction
Flood Basalts and Mass Extinctions
Large Igneous Provinces
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The Siberian Traps - Research at Leicester

Recently, we have been studying the age and composition of basalts from the West Siberian Basin. Reichow et al. (2002) confirmed that basalts from boreholes in the WSB are the same age, within error of the technique, as basalts from the Noril'sk and Putorana regions. In a later paper, we showed that compositionally they are similar to the Nadezhdinsky Suite at Noril'sk (Reichow et al., 2005).

These results were reported widely in the media, including the BBC, Nature and Geotimes.

In addition, we have been using seismic profiles, borehole data, and information from the Russian literature, to study the rifting and subsidence history of the West Siberian Basin (Saunders et al., 2005). The study indicated that the Basin was a region of positive relief during the Permian, and that it underwent rifting during the Triassic, mostly after the basaltic volcanism. Subsidence of the basin floor appears to have been delayed throughout the Triassic. These observations are consistent with a thermal anomaly beneath the basin during the Permian and Triassic.

Recent publicity and news:
BBC Radio 4 (Material World)
NERC Planet Earth
NASA-SETI interview

Figure Caption: Basaltic lavas exposed on the Putorana Plateau. Photo courtesy of NHK, Japan.

Current: A NERC grant has enabled us to study the extent and environmental impact of the Siberian Traps. We have undertaken a major dating programme using Ar-Ar techniques, in collaboration with SUERC and Dr Malcolm Pringle at MIT. Some of the data have recently been published (Reichow et al., 2009).
In parallel with these studies, we have sampled the Permo-Triassic boundary at Meishan, China, to investigate any long-range modification of seawater chemistry. This work is being undertaken with Dr Anthony Cohen at the Open University.
Ultimately, we wish to identify the precise links between the volcanism and the end-Permian extinction. A review has recently been pubished in Chinese Science Bulletin.
Several of our 4th year Masters in Geology undergraduate students have recently undertaken projects on the Meishan sediments and Siberian basalts.
If you are interested in any of the above, or wish to collaborate directly or indirectly with these studies, please get in touch. We are particularly interested to hear from potential research students or post-doctoral staff.