Structural interpretation of El Hierro (Canary Islands) rifts system from gravity inversion modelling



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Sainz Maza, S. and Montesinos, F. G. and Marti, J. and Arnoso, J. and Calvo, M. and Borreguero, A. (2017) Structural interpretation of El Hierro (Canary Islands) rifts system from gravity inversion modelling. Tectonophysics, 712 . pp. 72-81. ISSN 0040-1951

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Recent volcanism in El Hierro Island is mostly concentrated along three elongated and narrow zones which converge at the center of the island. These zones with extensive volcanism have been identified as rift zones. The presence of similar structures is common in many volcanic oceanic islands, so understanding their origin, dynamics and structure is important to conduct hazard assessment in such environments. There is still not consensus on the origin of the El Hierro rift zones, having been associated with mantle uplift or interpreted as resulting from gravitational spreading and flank instability. To further understand the internal structure and origin of the El Hierro rift systems, starting from the previous gravity studies, we developed a new 3D gravity inversion model for its shallower layers, gathering a detailed picture of this part of the island, which has permitted a new interpretation about these rifts. Previous models already identified a main central magma accumulation zone and several shallower high density bodies. The new model allows a better resolution of the pathways that connect both levels and the surface. Our results do not point to any correspondence between the upper parts of these pathways and the rift identified at the surface. Non-clear evidence of progression toward deeper parts into the volcanic system is shown, so we interpret them as very shallow structures, probably originated by local extensional stresses derived from gravitational loading and flank instability, which are used to facilitate the lateral transport of magma when it arrives close to the surface.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:El Hierro; Rift system; Gravity inversion
Subjects:Sciences > Mathematics > Astronomy
ID Code:43220
Deposited On:09 Jun 2017 14:17
Last Modified:12 Jun 2017 08:46

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