New research blows the lid on volcanic activity

Geologists from our University have been unravelling an age-old geological story.

Their research, relating to ancient volcanic activity in Mongolia and China, challenges existing knowledge about the processes involved.

Tom Sheldrick , from the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, said: “This is exciting research which looks at the geochemical similarities of the Mesozoic volcanism in Mongolia with that in the North China Craton – a matter that is highly debated.

“To date, there has only ever been one other published article (Dash et al. 2015) on the Mongolian Mesozoic basaltic volcanism. This paper challenges many models and shows similar geological processes happened in Mongolia and China at a similar time.”

Tom said the rock samples under examination were collected by Tiffany Barry and Douwe van Hinsbergen  -  whilst they were studying at Leicester - during separate field excursions. Some of the geochemical data is 21 years old - collected by Tiffany Barry when she did her PhD at Leicester.

“When I started my PhD, I was given this data, and I have been using it to help unravel the Mesozoic geological story, “ said Tom.

He added: ”The geological processes responsible for producing large quantities of magmatism are often debated. In the case of this Central Asia Mesozoic magmatism this is particularly true, because typical models for producing magmatism, such as subducting tectonic plates, is not viable. In this particular case, it is fascinating that such wide-scale magmatism occurred (some of the volcanic fields in Mongolia, Russia and the North China Craton are >1500 km away from each other!). Yet, despite the spatial differences, the geochemical data suggest linked geological processes. “