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Based on wide-ranging discussions with members of the LIPs community around the world, we have identified three themes that seem to resonate. Other themes can be developed as interest and potential coordinators arise.

Expand the Database: Archean to Present

The recognition of pre-Mesozoic LIPs is complicated by: 1) erosion which removes the flood basalt component and exposes the plumbing system, 2) deformation, 3) plate tectonics which fragments older LIPs. A campaign will be organized in order to expand the study (particularly U-Pb dating) of pre-Mesozoic LIPs. In the Proterozoic this will focus on sill provinces and dyke swarms, and in the Archean work will focus on correlating between greenstone belts. Along with integrated paleomagnetic and geochemical study, these data will contribute to defining paleocontinental reconstructions and facilitate the reconstruction of fragmented LIPs, thereby allowing a more complete understanding of LIP distributions in time and space.

Contact: Richard Ernst

Developing Critical Tests to Assess the Origin of LIPs

There is debate regarding the origin of LIPs, mainly between a deep-mantle plume model, and alternative top-down (lithospheric plate) control (includes rift generated, cratonic edge convection, thermal blanketing and lithospheric delamination mechanisms). Meteorite impact models have also been proposed. A continuing focus of the LIPs Commission is to develop critical tests to assess the contributions of proposed mechanisms to the origin of LIPs with an appreciation that different mechanisms or combinations of mechanisms may apply in each case.

LIPs and Climate Change / Extinction Events

The dramatic climatic effects of LIPs will be evaluated including the proposed link with extinction events. A particular focus will be the largest LIPs through time, and detailed comparison with the climatic record, particularly that preserved in the isotopic (Sr, O and C) composition of marine carbonates, and in the faunal/flora record.

Contact: Paul Wignall