Dike swarm

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Map of the Mackenzie dike swarm in Canada
Map of the Matachewan and Mistassini dike swarms in Canada

A dike swarm or dyke swarm is a large geological structure consisting of a major group of parallel, linear, or radially oriented dikes intruded within continental crust. They consist of several to hundreds of dikes emplaced more or less contemporaneously during a single intrusive event and are magmatic and stratigraphic. Such dike swarms may form a large igneous province and are the roots of a volcanic province.

The occurrence of mafic dike swarms in Archean and Paleoproterozoic terrains is often cited as evidence for mantle plume activity associated with abnormally high mantle potential temperatures.

Dike swarms may extend over 400 km (249 mi) in width and length. The largest dike swarm known on Earth is the Mackenzie dike swarm in the western half of the Canadian Shield in Canada, which is more than 500 km (311 mi) wide and 3,000 km (1,864 mi) long.[1]

The number of known giant dike swarms on Earth is small, only about 25. However, the primary geometry of most giant dike swarms is poorly known due to their age and subsequent tectonic activity.

Examples of dike swarms[edit]

North America

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mackenzie dike swarm (geological feature, Canada) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia.