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Title: Nannofossils in 2011 El Hierro eruptive products reinstate plume model for Canary Islands
Authors: Zaczek, Kirsten
Troll, Valentin R.
Cachao, Mario
Ferreira, Jorge
Deegan, Frances M.
Carlos Carracedo, Juan 
Soler, Vicente
Meade, Fiona C.
Burchardt, Steffi
UNESCO Clasification: 250621 Vulcanología
2416 Paleontología
Keywords: El Hierro (Canary Islands)
Issue Date: 2015
Journal: Scientific Reports 
Abstract: The origin and life cycle of ocean islands have been debated since the early days of Geology. In the case of the Canary archipelago, its proximity to the Atlas orogen led to initial fracture-controlled models for island genesis, while later workers cited a Miocene-Quaternary east-west age-progression to support an underlying mantle-plume. The recent discovery of submarine Cretaceous volcanic rocks near the westernmost island of El Hierro now questions this systematic age-progression within the archipelago. If a mantle-plume is indeed responsible for the Canaries, the onshore volcanic age-progression should be complemented by progressively younger pre-island sedimentary strata towards the west, however, direct age constraints for the westernmost pre-island sediments are lacking. Here we report on new age data obtained from calcareous nannofossils in sedimentary xenoliths erupted during the 2011 El Hierro events, which date the sub-island sedimentary rocks to between late Cretaceous and Pliocene in age. This age-range includes substantially younger pre-volcanic sedimentary rocks than the Jurassic to Miocene strata known from the older eastern islands and now reinstate the mantle-plume hypothesis as the most plausible explanation for Canary volcanism. The recently discovered Cretaceous submarine volcanic rocks in the region are, in turn, part of an older, fracture-related tectonic episode.
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/srep07945
Source: Scientific Reports [ISSN 2045-2322], v. 5
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