Putorana plateau owes its birth to giant catastrophe

Putorana plateau owes its birth to giant catastrophe

August 25, 2023

The place where the famous mountains without peaks now stand was the epicenter of a prehistoric supervolcano.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Putorana is completely composed of basalts, that is, of solidified lava. Its source – a giant supervolcano – was active on this site about 252 million years ago.

This volcano was not a huge mountain with a vent and a crater – lava poured out through many small cracks over a huge area. Giant volumes of liquid lava were layered on each other, forming a kind of layer cake in the cut and eventually taking on a stepped look.

This is how the Siberian trap province appeared: from the Swedish ‘trapp’ – a ladder. It covers an area of about two million square kilometers. These volcanic flows reached the Ural Mountains. And the epicenter was the Putorana plateau, and what is even more surprising – the Norilsk area.

The result of that catastrophe was not only the formation of our plateau and its rich bowels, but also the Great Permian extinction, which lasted 60 thousand years. 96 percent of marine species and 70 percent of terrestrial animal species disappeared. But the species that became the ancestors of dinosaurs and the first mammals survived.

In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told about an island in the Kara sea named after a Norilsk citizen.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

August 25, 2023

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