Volcanism of the Canary Islands: An overview with petrologic characteristics
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. School of Earth Sciences Senior Theses; 2012
The study of the volcanic activity that surrounds and builds ocean islands may yield evidence of thermal and chemical anomalies within Earth’s mantle. Although not the most typical or famous of ocean islands, the Canaries archipelago is of importance in the understanding of ocean island volcanism and mantle dynamics. The Canary Islands lie in the Atlantic Ocean off the Northwest coast of Africa. The geologic setting is that of an archipelago within a slow-moving tectonic plate close to a passive continental margin. It has been suggested that the islands are the products of “hot spot” volcanism, i.e. the result of a mantle plume. However, more recently it was proposed that the origin of the Canary Islands is likely the result of a sheet-like mantle thermal anomaly aided by regional tectonics and structural geology. Existing geochemical data were analyzed for differences in major oxides among the seven islands and numerous volcanoes of the Canaries. Interpretation of the data yields conclusions about the composition of the mantle source region and the processes of magma evolution. Comparisons are drawn to existing intra-plate oceanic volcanism such as the Hawaiian Islands. This project aims to achieve a better understanding of the dynamics of the Canary Islands and their origin.
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