Rajmahal Traps

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Rajmahal Traps is a volcanic igneous province in Eastern India, covering the parts of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Meghalaya. Rajmahal hills of Jharkhand is the type area of this province. Multiple layers of solidified lava made 608 m (1,995 ft) thick Rajmahal hill which is dipping 2°-5° towards north-east. Individual layers vary in thickness from less than 1 metre to more than 70 meters.[1]


These volcanic rocks were formed from the eruptions of the Kerguelen hotspot in the early Cretaceous.[2] The similarity between the geochemical data of Rajmahal volcanis and lavas of the Kerguelen Plateau confirms this. According to the plate tectonics, the Indian subcontinent was over this hot spot during the Cretaceous age.

The original lava flow covered an area of nearly 4,100 km2 (1,600 sq mi). Below the Bengal basin the flows cover 200,000 km2 (77,000 sq mi).[3]


The Rajmahal volcanics are predominantly tholeiitic basalt, quartz tholeiite, olivine tholeiite and alkali basalt. The Intertrappean Beds are composed of sedimentary rock like siltstone, claystone and shale.[1]

Structural Evolution[edit]

The western boundary of the Rajmahal Traps is faulted and down-thrown towards the east. The eastern boundary of this trap has a North-South trending, fault-controlled basement. This basement connects the Purnea basin of the Ganga valley with the Bengal basin. These faulted contacts, along with the Damodar Gondwana graben, form a triple junction at the mouth of the Bengal basin. The trap evolved along the then eastern continental margin of India, following rifting of Gondwanaland. Over the epochs, the upper part of the lava deformed in a cold, brittle fashion and formed graben structures.[3]


The Intertrappean Beds contain assamblage of lower cretaceous plant fossil. The assemblage includes Cladophlebis indica, Dictyozamites indicus, Taeniopteris spatulata, Brachyphyllum rhombium.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Valdiya, K. S. (2010). The Making of India, Geodynamic Evolution. Macmillan Publishers India Ltd. p. 323. ISBN 978-0230-32833-4.
  2. ^ Courtillot, Vincent. Evolutionary Catastrophes: The Science of Mass Extinctions. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999; p. 95.
  3. ^ a b Singh, A. P.; Niraj Kumar; Bijendra Singh (December 2004). "Magmatic underplating beneath the Rajmahal Traps: Gravity signature and derived 3-D configuration". Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. (Earth Planet. Sci.). 113 (4). Retrieved 8 March 2017.