Rift zone reorganization through flank instability in ocean island volcanoes: An example from Tenerife, Canary Islands

  • Walter T
  • Troll V
  • Cailleau B
 et al. 
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Abstract

The relationship between rift zones and flank instability in ocean island volcanoes is often inferred but rarely documented. Our field data, aerial image analysis, and 40Ar/39Ar chronology from Anaga basaltic shield volcano on Tenerife, Canary Islands, support a rift zone - flank instability relationship. A single rift zone dominated the early stage of the Anaga edifice (?6-4.5 Ma). Destabilization of the northern sector led to partial seaward collapse at about ?4.5 Ma, resulting in a giant landslide. The remnant highly fractured northern flank is part of the destabilized sector. A curved rift zone developed within and around this unstable sector between 4.5 and 3.5 Ma. Induced by the dilatation of the curved rift, a further rift-arm developed to the south, generating a three-armed rift system. This evolutionary sequence is supported by elastic dislocation models that illustrate how a curved rift zone accelerates flank instability on one side of a rift, and facilitates dike intrusions on the opposite side. Our study demonstrates a feedback relationship between flank instability and intrusive development, a scenario probably common in ocean island volcanoes. We therefore propose that ocean island rift zones represent geologically unsteady structures that migrate and reorganize in response to volcano flank instability. � Springer-Verlag 2004

Author-supplied keywords

  • Canary Islands
  • Constructive-destructive feedback mechanism
  • Dike intrusion
  • Rift zone
  • Tenerife
  • Volcano flank instability

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Authors

  • T. R. Walter

  • V. R. Troll

  • B. Cailleau

  • A. Belousov

  • H. U. Schmincke

  • F. Amelung

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