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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-05-07
    Description: During the first week of the 2011 El Hierro submarine eruption, abundant light-coloured pumiceous, high-silica volcanic bombs coated in dark basanite were found floating on the sea. The composition of the light-coloured frothy material (‘xeno-pumice’) is akin to that of sedimentary rocks from the region, but the textures resemble felsic magmatic pumice, leaving their exact mode of formation unclear. To help decipher their origin, we investigated representative El Hierro xeno-pumice samples using X-ray computed microtomography for their internal vesicle shapes, volumes, and bulk porosity, as well as for the spatial arrangement and size distributions of vesicles in three dimensions (3D). We find a wide range of vesicle morphologies, which are especially variable around small fragments of rock contained in the xeno-pumice samples. Notably, these rock fragments are almost exclusively of sedimentary origin, and we therefore interpret them as relicts an the original sedimentary ocean crust protolith(s). The irregular vesiculation textures observed probably resulted from pulsatory release of volatiles from multiple sources during xeno-pumice formation, most likely by successive release of pore water and mineral water during incremental heating and decompression of the sedimentary protoliths.
    Keywords: El Hierro; Xeno-pumice; X-CT imaging; Vesicle morphologies; Vesicle size distribution; Heterogeneous vesiculation; Sedimentary ocean crust
    Language: English
    Type: article , publishedVersion
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1365-246X
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences
    Notes: Extensive geological, geophysical and geochronological data available from the Canary Islands establish conclusively that formation of the oldest subaerial volcanic structure of the islands began during the Miocene. A mid-Cretaceous age for these volcanic formations has been postulated in previous works on the basis of palaeomagnetic determinations. The results obtained in the present palaeomagnetic study of Lanzarote include analysis of the record of variations of magnetic inclination in boreholes that penetrate the whole of the oldest volcanic series. They show that the excessive age previously assigned to these formations is due to the utilization of volcanic units with abnormally low (〈15°) magnetic inclinations (LGIs). In Lanzarote, lavas exhibiting LGIs appear interbedded in a volcanic series that, overall, shows a typical Miocene inclination (∼45°). The units stratigraphically beneath and above the LGI horizons give, in fact, directions consistent with the Middle-Upper Miocene field direction (D= 359°, I= 45°, with k= 29, a95= 6.7° and a palaeopole of 87°N, 178°E), thereby confirming the Miocene age of the oldest subaerial volcanics of Lanzarote. Short excursions of the geomagnetic field seem likely to be the explanation for these LGIs, since other factors such as tectonic tilting, post-eruptive modification of the primary remanence or errors in sample orientation can be disregarded.The detection in the Canary Archipelago of volcanic units with abnormally low magnetic inclinations seems to be related to the relatively continuous record of the geomagnetic field in rapidly growing volcanic edifices, as seems to be indicated by the presence of a few (usually one or two) short polarity events in volcanic suites of several hundred metres thickness.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: In their article, Geyer and Martí (2010) propose that the evolution and origin of the volcanic islands which constitute the Canarian archipelago are strongly controlled by regional tectonic “Atlantic” and “African” structures. In their Fig. 1a they sketch the geometry of the Iberian and Moroccan microplates and the respective boundary zones with respect to Africa (Nubia) and Eurasia (Mantovani et al., 2007). Dashed lines indicating presumed plate boundaries cross the Canarian archipelago, which will therefore be located along a lithospheric fracture, the boundary between the Moroccan and African (Nubia) microplates. This regional fracture extends from the Atlas to the Atlantis fracture zone, coinciding in parts with the propagating fracture postulated by Anguita and Hernán (1975). In Fig. 1b of Geyer and Martí (2010), dashed lines indicate the orientation of the most evident tectonic structures visible on the ocean floor. As we show in this comment, all of these mapped “faults” are artifacts.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
    Format: text
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2012-06-28
    Description: Los primeros indicios de una posible erupción volcánica en El Hierro se percibieron a partir de julio de 2011 en forma de sismos de baja intensidad pero anormalmente numerosos. La intensificación de la sismicidad culminó con el inicio de la erupción submarina el 10 de octubre de 2011 a unos 2 km al sur de La Restinga. La sismicidad y deformación del terreno que precedieron y acompañaron a esta erupción han permitido reconstruir las principales fases de actividad volcánica: 1) generación y ascenso del magma con migración de los hipocentros sísmicos desde el norte, en el Golfo, hasta el rift sur, en La Restinga, marcando la apertura hidráulica del conducto magmático; y 2) inicio y continuidad de la erupción volcánica evidenciada por un tremor armónico continuo de intensidad variable en el tiempo. Las características observadas a lo largo de la erupción, principalmente localización, profundidad y evolución morfológica del foco emisor, así como emisión de materiales volcánicos flotantes, inicialmente con un núcleo blanco poroso (procedentes de la fusión parcial de sedimentos de la capa superior de la corteza oceánica anteriores a la construcción del edificio insular de El Hierro) envuelto por una corteza basanítica y después huecas (lava balloons), se han correspondido con una erupción submarina fisural profunda sin que nunca hayan intervenido mecanismos más explosivos tipo surtseyano. La erupción se mantuvo activa durante unos cinco meses, dándose por finalizada en marzo del 2012, convirtiéndose de este modo en la segunda erupción histórica más longeva de Canarias después de la de Timanfaya (1730-36) en Lanzarote. Esta erupción ha supuesto la primera oportunidad en 40 años de gestionar una crisis volcánica en Canarias y de analizar las observaciones e interpretaciones y las decisiones adoptadas, con objeto de mejorar la gestión de futuras crisis volcánicas. El Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN) se encargó de adquirir y analizar la información sísmica y de deformación durante todo el proceso. Sin embargo, no se dispuso inicialmente de un barco oceanográfico que realizara estudios sistemáticos de la profundidad y progresión de la erupción, así como de toma de muestras de los materiales emitidos (piroclastos y lavas), elementos claves para la determinación de la peligrosidad eruptiva. Estas deficiencias en el seguimiento científico del proceso eruptivo dificultaron en algunos momentos la toma de decisiones de protección civil. El análisis de la crisis ha puesto de manifiesto que, aunque se disponga de una infraestructura técnica adecuada para la detección temprana de crisis eruptivas en el archipiélago, de poco valen las medidas administrativas planificadas sin un seguimiento científico continuo e integrador del proceso eruptivo, abierto a la colaboración científica nacional e internacional.
    Print ISSN: 0367-0449
    Electronic ISSN: 1988-3250
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2012-11-21
    Description: In Tenerife, lavas of the recent Teide–Pico Viejo central complex show a marked bimodality in composition from initially mafic lavas (200–30 ka) to highly differentiated phonolites (30–0 ka). After this abrupt change, the bimodality of the lavas continued to manifest itself between the now felsic Teide–Pico Viejo central complex and the adjacent, but exclusively mafic, rift zones. Whole-rock trace element fingerprinting distinguishes three compositional groups (mafic, transitional, felsic). Groundmass Sr–Nd–Pb–O and feldspar 18 O data demonstrate open-system behaviour for the petrogenesis of the Teide–Pico Viejo felsic lavas by high 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios of up to 0·7049, uniform 206 Pb/ 204 Pb (19·75–19·78), variable 207 Pb/ 204 Pb (15·53–15·62) and heterogeneous 18 O values (5·43–6·80). However, ocean sediment contamination can be excluded because of the low 206 Pb/ 204 Pb ratios of North Atlantic sediments. Isotope mixing hyperbolae reproduce the entire Teide–Pico Viejo succession and require an assimilant of predominantly felsic composition. Unsystematic and heterogeneous variation of 18 O in fresh and unaltered feldspars across the Teide–Pico Viejo succession indicates magmatic addition of diverse 18 O assimilants, altered near surface at high and low temperatures. The best fit for these requirements is provided by nepheline syenite that occurs as fresh or altered lithic blocks in voluminous pre-Teide ignimbrite deposits and is similarly heterogeneous in oxygen isotope composition. Nepheline syenite blocks are considered to represent deep remnants of associated earlier eruptions and were thus available for assimilation at depth. Rare earth element modelling indicates that nepheline syenite needs to be melted in bulk to form a suitable end-member composition. Using this assimilant, energy-constrained assimilation fractional crystallization (EC-AFC) modelling reproduces the bulk of the succession, which leads us to suggest that Teide–Pico Viejo petrogenesis is governed by assimilation and fractional crystallization. Both mixing hyperbolae and EC-AFC models indicate that assimilation is more pronounced for the more felsic lavas. The maximum assimilation is evident in the most strongly differentiated (and the most radiogenic in Sr) lava and computes to 〉97·8% of the assimilant. This most evolved eruption probably represents nepheline syenite bulk melts that formed spatially decoupled from juvenile material. This study therefore recognizes a wider variability of magmatic differentiation processes at Teide–Pico Viejo than previously thought.
    Print ISSN: 0022-3530
    Electronic ISSN: 1460-2415
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2013-05-08
    Description: Oceanic island basalts are commonly thought to differentiate by fractional crystallization, yet closed-system fractionation models have so far failed to reproduce major and trace element variations observed in mafic lavas from the Teide–Pico Viejo stratovolcano complex on Tenerife. Here, new high-precision plagioclase trace element data are fed into such a fractionation model. The results confirm that fractionation of phenocrysts found in the lavas does not reproduce trace element variations, in particular enrichment of Sr and Zr observed in the Teide–Pico Viejo mafic suite. This enrichment of Sr and Zr is tested by an energy-constrained recharge, assimilation and fractional crystallization (EC-RAFC) model at high T and low T intervals, consistent with previously determined magma storage beneath Tenerife at sub-Moho depths. Published mineral–melt equilibrium relations using the plagioclase anorthite content (0.4 〈 X An 〈 0.8) constrain the temperature during differentiation. Gabbroic xenoliths found in Tenerife lavas are assumed as contaminant. Enrichment of Sr and Zr in the Teide mafic suite is reproduced by this combined assimilation and fractional crystallization model, as assimilation causes higher degrees of enrichment in incompatible trace elements than is possible by crystal fractionation alone. Recycling of plutonic roots may thus have significantly enriched trace elements in the primitive lavas of the Teide–Pico Viejo succession. Supplementary material: Detailed average mineral compositions of low and high Sr–Zr lavas, composition of the bulk extracts and full graphs of the recalculated closed-system model are available at www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18604 .
    Print ISSN: 0016-7649
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 7
  • 8
    Publication Date: 2016-09-05
    Description: A submarine eruption started off the south coast of El Hierro, Canary Islands, on 10 October 2011 and continues at the time of this writing (February 2012). In the first days of the event, peculiar eruption products were found floating on the sea surface, drifting for long distances from the eruption site. These specimens, which have in the meantime been termed "restingolites" (after the close-by village of La Restinga), appeared as black volcanic "bombs" that exhibit cores of white and porous pumice-like material. Since their brief appearance, the nature and origin of these "floating stones" has been vigorously debated among researchers, with important implications for the interpretation of the hazard potential of the ongoing eruption. The "restingolites" have been proposed to be either (i) juvenile high-silica magma (e.g. rhyolite), (ii) remelted magmatic material (trachyte), (iii) altered volcanic rock, or (iv) reheated hyaloclastites or zeolite from the submarine slopes of El Hierro. Here, we provide evidence that supports yet a different conclusion. We have analysed the textures and compositions of representative "restingolites" and compared the results to previous work on similar rocks found in the Canary Islands. Based on their high-silica content, the lack of igneous trace element signatures, the presence of remnant quartz crystals, jasper fragments and carbonate as well as wollastonite (derived from thermal overprint of carbonate) and their relatively high oxygen isotope values, we conclude that "restingolites" are in fact xenoliths from pre-island sedimentary layers that were picked up and heated by the ascending magma, causing them to partially melt and vesiculate. As they are closely resembling pumice in appearance, but are xenolithic in origin, we refer to these rocks as "xeno-pumice". The El Hierro xeno-pumices hence represent messengers from depth that help us to understand the interaction between ascending magma and crustal lithologies beneath the Canary Islands as well as in similar Atlantic islands that rest on sediment-covered ocean crust (e.g. Cape Verdes, Azores). The occurrence of "restingolites" indicates that crustal recycling is a relevant process in ocean islands, too, but does not herald the arrival of potentially explosive high-silica magma in the active plumbing system beneath El Hierro.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
    Format: text
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  • 9
  • 10
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