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Floating Sandstones Off El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): the Peculiar Case of the October 2011 Eruption : Volume 3, Issue 2 (01/12/2011)

By Troll, V. R.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004021820
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 25
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Floating Sandstones Off El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): the Peculiar Case of the October 2011 Eruption : Volume 3, Issue 2 (01/12/2011)  
Author: Troll, V. R.
Volume: Vol. 3, Issue 2
Language: English
Subject: Science, Solid, Earth
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Blythe, L. S., Berg, S., Dahren, B., Troll, V. R., Deegan, F. M., Wiesmaier, S.,...Freda, C. (2011). Floating Sandstones Off El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): the Peculiar Case of the October 2011 Eruption : Volume 3, Issue 2 (01/12/2011). Retrieved from

Description: Dept. of Earth Sciences, CEMPEG, Uppsala University, Sweden. The eruption that started off the south coast of El Hierro, Canary Islands, in October 2011 has emitted intriguing eruption products found floating in the sea. These specimens appeared as floating volcanic bombs that have in the meantime been termed restingolites (after the close-by village of La Restinga) and exhibit cores of white and porous pumice-like material. Currently the nature and origin of these floating stones is vigorously debated among researchers, with important implications for the interpretation of the hazard potential of the ongoing eruption. The restingolites have been proposed to be either (i) juvenile high-silica magma (e.g. rhyolite), (ii) remelted magmatic material (trachyte), (iii) altered volcanic rock, or (iv) reheated hyaloclastites or zeolite from the submarine slopes of El Hierro. Here, we provide evidence that supports yet a different conclusion. We have collected and analysed the structure and composition of samples and compared the results to previous work on similar rocks found in the archipelago. Based on their high silica content, the lack of igneous trace element signatures, and the presence of remnant quartz crystals, jasper fragments and carbonate relicts, we conclude that restingolites are in fact xenoliths from pre-island sedimentary rocks that were picked up and heated by the ascending magma causing them to partially melt and vesiculate. They hence represent messengers from depth that help us to understand the interaction between ascending magma and crustal lithologies in the Canary Islands as well as in similar Atlantic islands that rest on sediment/covered ocean crust (e.g. Cape Verdes, Azores). The occurrence of these restingolites does therefore not indicate the presence of an explosive high-silica magma that is involved in the ongoing eruption.

Floating sandstones off El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): the peculiar case of the October 2011 eruption

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