Sainz-Maza Aparicio, S., Martí, J., Montesinos, F. G., Borreguero Gómez, A., Pereda de Pablo, J., Vaquero Fernández, P., & Calvo García-Maroto, M. (2019). Gravimetric study of the shallow basaltic plumbing system of Tenerife, Canary Islands. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiorsz, 297, 106319.


Recent studies on intraplate volcanic islands reveal that magma ascends sub-vertically through these volcanic edifices, following well-defined zones in the lithospheric mantle and oceanic crust, and occasionally suffering lateral propagation along rift zones when it reaches very shallow depths. Visualizing the internal structure of the shallowest part of such magma plumbing systems is crucial to understanding magma transport and the location of basaltic volcanism in these volcanic environments. Tenerife (Canary Islands) is a very good example of an intraplate volcanic island, in which the distribution of basaltic volcanism includes well-defined rift systems, and wider monogenetic fields where cinder cones form clusters along different tectonic alignments. In order to characterize the structure of the uppermost part of the basaltic plumbing system of Tenerife, we conducted a detailed gravimetric study of the north-western, central, and southern sectors of the island. We developed a 3D density contrast model of the subsoil based on the application of a genetic algorithm for the inversion of gravity data. The results of our inverse modelling suggest that the observed gravimetric anomalies below the northwestern rift zone are shallow and aligned parallel to this structure. This is consistent with a shallow character for the rift system and a lateral migration of magma along it that comes from a deeper zone located towards the east of this rift zone. Conversely, the anomalies located in the south are also shallow but are distributed along more than one alignment and are connected to much deeper sub-vertical similar density anomalies. These results support the existence of several main channels at the north and south of the island that allow the ascent of deep basaltic magma to shallower zones of Tenerife. There, magma may be either caught by the rifts systems, being distributed laterally and occasionally erupting, or may continue its ascent to the surface using a secondary system of shallow fractures that dominates the southern part of Tenerife. The results of our inverse model also offer new insights on others aspects of the internal structure of Tenerife, such as the distribution of the basaltic shield or that of Las Cañadas caldera.

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