Do mantle plumes cause continental breakup?

A key question in the study of volcanic continental margins is whether their temporal-spatial pattern of magmatism is caused by mantle plumes (temperature and/or mantle composition anomalies) or by enhanced mantle flow. By applying a finite element model to account for mantle melting during breakup, we were able to show that, provided factors such as rift history are considered, thermal mantle plumes can explain the amount and properties of magmatism observed long the margins of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. I am currently collaborating with industry (ION-GX) to use specialist data to further test these ideas and gauge their implications for hydrocarbon reserves.

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