A red bole zircon record of cryptic silicic volcanism in the Deccan Traps, India
Silicic magmas within large igneous provinces (LIPs) are understudied relative to volumetrically dominant mafic magmas despite their prevalence and possible contribution to LIP-induced environmental degradation. In the 66 Ma Deccan LIP (India), evolved magmatism is documented, but its geographic distribution, duration, and significance remain poorly understood. Zircons deposited in weathered Deccan lava flow tops (“red boles”) offer a means of indirectly studying potentially widespread, silicic, explosive volcanism spanning the entire period of flood basalt eruptions. We explored this record through analysis of trace elements and Hf isotopes in zircon crystals previously dated by U–Pb geochronology. Our results show that zircon populations within individual red boles fingerprint distinct volcanic sources that likely developed in an intraplate setting on cratonic Indian lithosphere. However, our red bole zircon geochemical and isotopic characteristics do not match those from previously studied silicic magmatic centers, indicating that they must derive from yet undiscovered or understudied volcanic centers associated with the Deccan LIP.