Spanish and French researchers have defined the age, location, size and geochemistry of the volcanoes of Gran Canaria during the Holocene, 11,000 years ago, in order to draw up a map of volcanic hazards for the island. The research shows that the area of greatest volcanic activity is one of the most heavily populated areas in the north east of the island, which has suffered 24 eruptions over the period studied.
The team of French and Spanish scientists led by researchers from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and the "Jaume Almera" Institute of Earth Sciences (CSIC, Barcelona) combined the data from previous studies with the results of analysis of 13 new radiocarbon ages in order to gain an understanding of the history of the island and predict the areas to be struck by future volcanic eruptions.
The result, which has been published recently in the Journal of Quaternary Science, is a map of volcanic hazards for Gran Canaria, describing risk scenarios. "We have identified 24 volcanic eruptions that took place over the past 11,000 years on Gran Canaria. We know that volcanism was concentrated in the northern sector of the island and produced small monogenetic strombolian cones (eruptions that are not very violent and which release lava and pyroclastic flows) and, occasionally, phreatomagmatic calderas (which release ash), Alejandro Rodrguez-Gonzlez, lead author of the study and a researcher at the ULPGC, tells SINC.
In order to create the map, the researchers based themselves on detailed field work, which enabled them to define the limits of the various volcanic units (cone, lava and horizontal spread of pyroclastic flows) with a great degree of exactitude, using geomorphologiccal and stratigraphic criteria.
The data now made available by the scientists makes it possible to better evaluate the scale and type of future eruptions in this area. By working out the areas, before and after, of each eruption
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology