The Umkondo Large Igneous Province (LIP) is represented by widespread (~2.0×106km2) mafic intrusions that were rapidly emplaced (1112-1108Ma) into the Kalahari craton of southern Africa and the formerly adjacent Grunehogna Province of Antarctica during Rodinia assembly. Very few Umkondo-aged dykes have been identified before, resulting in a poor understanding of this LIP's plumbing system and origin. Here we report six new ~1110Ma U-Pb TIMS baddeleyite ages for various dolerite dykes, which, when coupled with geochemistry from some of the dykes, suggest association with the Umkondo LIP. The distribution of dykes defines distinct radiating swarms, which locate two separate magmatic centers on the northern margin of the Kalahari craton, and a third less robust center on the SE margin. The Umkondo intrusions' geochemistry indicates significant partial melting of the sub-continental mantle lithosphere (SCLM) and requires a transient thermal anomaly in the mantle. A viable model sees a mantle plume ascend beneath the craton and split into different portions that moved and ascended to different lithospheric thin-spots along the margins of the craton. As an alternative, the rise in mantle temperature associated with continental aggregation at this time is considered sufficient to cause partial melting of the SCLM without any plume involvement. Specific features of the Umkondo LIP's plumbing system are supportive of either model, and an approach of multiple working hypotheses is recommended.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology