Members of the LAJIAL Project team,which is co-coordinated by GEO3BCN-CSIC researcher José Luis Fernández-Turiel, conducted a new fieldwork campaign in El Hierro Island (Canary Islands) this February. This campaign was aimed to map Holocene eruption vents and lava flows located in the southern ridge of the island.
“This has been the most active volcanic area during the last millennium. Several eruptions occurred in the southern ridge of El Hierro, all of them were strombolian eruptions that created large lava fields. For example, the eruption of Tagoro volcano occurred in the submarine part of this ridge in 2011”, said Jose Luis Fernández-Turiel.
From 7 to 21 of February, the team of scientists was able to map completely 12 eruptions. “We could map several cones and their related lava flows. The composition of the volcanic material is very similar, basaltic, so a careful analysis is required to identify each lava flow correctly “, said Fernández-Turiel who added that due to “our detailed mapping task, we were able to identify several eruptions occurred in El Hierro Island that were previously unknown”.
Researchers also sampled each identified lava flow to conduct petrological and geochemical analysis at the laboratory. These analyses will allow researchers to reconstruct the magma’s origin and its evolution during the ascending, as well as the eruption process. Moreover, they collected some coal samples related to lava flows. The C14 dating of these samples, which are remains of vegetation that burned during the eruptions, will be key in determining the different ages of each eruption.
The collected samples will be analysed at the LabGEOTOP Geochemistry Service (GEO3BCN-CSIC), at the Scientific and Technological Centers of the University of Barcelona (CCiTUB), and at the laboratory of the Osservatorio Vesuviano - Istituto Nazionale di Geofísica e Vulcanologia (INGV, Italia).
The mapping and the petrological and geochemical data acquired during several fieldwork campaigns will be used to inform models of “the events of the future eruption in El Hierro and other volcanic islands”. This is one of the main goals of the LAJIAL Project, which is funded by the Spanish National Research Agency.
Researchers from the Institute for Environmental Studies and Natural Resources (i-UNAT) at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) along with researchers from the University of la Laguna participate in the LAJIAL Project.
The members of the project who took part in the fieldwork campaign met with representatives of El Cabildo de El Hierro and El Hierro Geopark to show them the progress of the project and to plan future outreach activities related to LAJIAL project.
A new mapping and sampling fieldwork campaign is scheduled for the next June in the same work area.