Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

LIPs - Ethiopian and Columbia River flood basalts

The 2 youngest CFBPs appear to have had little if any impact on the biota of the world, as they are also the 2 smallest CFBPs. The Ethiopian Traps are comprised of 0.75 million km3 of lava which erupted from 31 Ma to 28 Ma (Courtillot et al., 1999). These eruptions have been linked (Rampino & Stothers, 1988) with a Late Eocene protracted extinction, though this 34 Ma event predates considerably the Ethiopian eruptions. The Columbia River Traps, that are even smaller, contain 0.17 million km3 of lava and they have been linked with an extinction event in the mid-Miocene with which they coincide (Coffin & Eldholm, 1994). This minor event was first identified in a compilation (Raup & Sepkoski, 1984), is only notable for the elevated extinction rates among the ever-vulnerable, deep sea benthic foraminifera, attributed (Kaiho, 1994) to prolonged cooling of deep ocean water. Mammals in North America were also affected by extinctions in the Late Miocene (Hallam & Wignall, 1997), though these losses occurred several million years after the peak of the Columbia River eruptions.

Sources & Further reading

Wignall, P. B. (2001). "Large igneous provinces and mass extinctions." Earth-Sci. Rev. 53: 1-33.


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 19/07/2019
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