Norilsk: Siberian traps

Norilsk: Siberian traps

Talking about traps, one would think of a bait and what the trap is meant to catch. Far from such, the meaning of the word trap as related to Norilsk Siberia is gotten from Swedish word trappa, which means something with the nature of a steplike hill. This hill forms the landscape of Siberia. A broad region of volcanic rock is formed by the Siberian trap, which could be referred to as large igneous province in the city.

How it came to be

The very question that would come to the mind of an individual is how the traps even came to existence. The source of this trap and the solution to this issue is not too far. Norilsk Siberian Traps basalt has been traced to a mantle plume, which goes as far as the base of the earth crust resulting in volcanic eruptions through Siberian Craton. It was thought of it that the movement of the earth’s lithospheric plates over the mantle plume that is the Iceland plume, the Siberian Trap is produced in the Permian and Triassic period. The latter effect results in the production of volcanic activity on the floor of the Arctic Ocean in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, which later generates volcanic activity in the Iceland.

Norilsk Siberian traps

Norilsk Siberian traps

Other possible causes have also been suggested to be responsible for the trap in Norilsk Siberia. Majorly other suggested reason happens to be related to plate tectonics, but another possible cause thought to be a result of an impact of the formed Wilkes Land Crater in the Antarctica which was considered to be reasonable contemporaneous and nearly antipodal to the traps.

The time of formation of the trap is very important to trace things related to it, so also is the tracing of the time essential to know the actual cause of the eruption and possible effects it could have. The Siberian Traps in Norilsk is considered to have erupted through several vents over a period, which could be traced to about a million year or more. These vents are possible located in the east and south of Norilsk. The distance of eruption is very significant also in this situation. It was calculated that each erupted basalt lavas could go as far as 2000 km3. With further tracing and studying, the extensive tuff and pyroclastic deposits suggests sizeable explosive eruption must have taken place during or before the basaltic lavas eruptions. Finding rhyolite and other silicic volcanic rock also indicate explosive eruptions.

Impact of the eruption

There have been several debates over the possible effect of the eruption in Norilsk Siberia, one of which was said to be massive extinction. The events of a traumatic extinction that took place millions of years ago lead to lots of research by different scientists as the world demands an explanation for the disappearance of various rare species on earth. Research from Carnegie’s Linda Elkins-Tanton and her co-authors offers insight into how the eruption from Norilsk Siberian could have contributed to the massive deterioration in the global environment.

More than 90 percent marine species were lost during this period and more than 70 percent terrestrial species too. The event was traced to know the extent of damages caused. The fossil record suggests there has not been a full recovery since this incident.

Norilsk Siberian traps

Norilsk Siberian traps

One must be thinking how this could be related to Siberian Trap/eruptions in Norilsk Siberia. Research has shown that the gases released during the event must have perhaps included sulfur particles which when in the atmosphere must have caused the heat from the sun to be returned into space producing a cooling effect on the planet. Alternatively, probably nonmetallic elements such as chlorine must have affected the ozone layer in the stratosphere largely.

A team led by reputable scientists such as Benjamin Black of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studied the geology of the Siberian traps to be made of flood basalts, which is responsible for the formation of giant lava eruption, which coats large swaths of land or even ocean floor with basaltic lava. The lava was studied and the possibilities of it hardening to form rocks were found. With thorough investigation, the team looked deeply into the concentration of sulfur, chlorine, and fluorine that was found to dissolve in tiny samples of ancient magma found within basalt samples from Siberian Traps. Dating the small frozen droplets backward, it was found to hold records of volcanic gases from about 250 million years ago which correlates significantly with the time the significant extinction took place.

It was suggested that the release of gases such as sulfur, fluorine, and the likes could have caused large fissures, which is common in the basalt flood formation, which could have possible reached the ozone layer in the stratosphere to cause adverse climatic change. Research is still on to validate the reality of these facts.

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