Understanding the Eruptions of Submarine Large Igneous Provinces and Their Effects on the Environment

The Ontong Java Plateau (OJP), Shatsky Rise (SR), and the Kerguelen Plateau (KP) represent three Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) located in oceanic settings. The basement lavas have been investigated through scientific ocean drilling and, in the case of the OJP, fieldwork on the emergent obducted portions of the plateau in the Solomon Islands. Such studies have shown that these three LIPs have very different characteristics. For example, the OJP and KP appear to have formed through punctuated magmatic events, whereas SR was formed by one relatively long and drawn out event.  The formation of oceanic LIPs has, in many (but not all) cases been synchronous with oceanic anoxic events (OAEs). This talk focuses on three oceanic plateaus to emphasize the debate surrounding the environmental impact such LIPs may have had, and also highlights the contribution of scientific ocean drilling to our knowledge of oceanic LIP formation and evolution.