A new chronostratigraphical and evolutionary model for La Gomera: Implications for the overall evolution of the Canarian Archipelago



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Ancochea Soto, Eumenio and Hernán, F. and Huertas Coronel, María José and Brandle, J.L. and Herrera, R. (2006) A new chronostratigraphical and evolutionary model for La Gomera: Implications for the overall evolution of the Canarian Archipelago. Journal of volcanology and geothermal research , 157 (4). pp. 271-293. ISSN 0377-0273

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Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03770273


A review of the general volcano-stratigraphy and geochronology of La Gomera, one of the lesser known Canary Islands, has led to the establishment of a new evolutionary model. The oldest edifice corresponds to the submarine stage built up between 20 and 15 Ma. The construction of the Submarine Edifice was followed by an important break in the activity (about 4 Ma) and deep erosion of the edifice. About 10.5 Ma ago, the main present-day edifice (the Old Edifice 10.5–6.4 Ma) emerged, which was also submarine in its initial phases. Two different main stages are distinguishable. The first stage was represented by a large, some 22 km wide basaltic shield volcano (the Lower Old Edifice). Several lateral collapse events (Tazo and San Marcos avalanches) occurred during this time and were responsible for the removal of an important part of its northern flank. In the second growth stage (the Upper Old Edifice), the activity migrated southwards. A 25-km wide composite volcano arose covering part of the remaining earlier shield volcano. The felsic (trachytic to phonolitic) activity occurring in two separate episodes formed a significant component of this composite volcano. Finally, one more recent large edifice (the Young Edifice) built up from 5.7 to 4 Ma. The lava flows of this younger edifice covered completely the centre and the south of the island and filled deep ravines in the north. More evolved magmas, including significant felsic magmas (the third and last felsic episode), occurred in this phase of activity.

The growth of La Gomera was long-lasting, separated by an important gap in the activity in the Middle Miocene, with no Quaternary activity at all. At the same time on Tenerife (the nearest island east of La Gomera), three large edifices grew separately: Roque del Conde, Anaga and Teno (initially three separated islands). From the available data, it is inferred that the subaerial activity started earlier in the Roque del Conde Edifice, then on La Gomera and later in Teno in the NW and Anaga in NE of Tenerife, which is the youngest of all these edifices. These facts, together with the irregular general progress of the volcanic activity, support more complex views of the genesis for the Canary Islands than the simple hotspot model.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:La Gomera; Volcanic edifices; K/Ar geochronology; Canary Islands; Oceanic islands; Hot spot; Lateral collapse; Seamount
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Petrology
ID Code:9953
Deposited On:26 Jan 2010 16:32
Last Modified:01 Mar 2010 11:58

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