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A Quantitative Study of Five Thousand Years of Volcanism on Sao Miguel, Azores

B. Booth, R. Croasdale and G. P. L. Walker
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Vol. 288, No. 1352 (Mar. 23, 1978), pp. 271-319
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/75012
Page Count: 53
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A Quantitative Study of Five Thousand Years of Volcanism on Sao Miguel, Azores
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Abstract

The activity of the three stratovolcanoes on the island of Sao Miguel is documented by tephrochronology, and during the past 5000 years a total of some 57 volcanic eruptions have taken place, mostly of magnitudes 4-6 on Tsuya's scale. Approximately half were trachytic, and half basaltic. Each stratovolcano has a caldera within which each has had one historic eruption. The trachytic eruptions were predominantly explosive, and most took place from vents situated within the calderas. Isopach and isograde maps of most of the resulting pumice fall deposits are given. The basaltic eruptions produced both lava flows and pyroclastics, and isopach and isograde maps are given for some of the main fall deposits. The Agua de Pau volcano has had particularly large explosive eruptions, several of them (including Fogo A, the largest in the past 5000 years) being of plinian type. The output of the three volcanoes over the 5000 years is equivalent to 4.6 km3 of dense rock, at which rate the exposed parts of the volcanoes could have accumulated in 150 000 years. At least half of the erupted material is trachytic, a proportion typical of the entire accessible parts of the volcanoes. The 50 known eruptive vents of the past 5000 years are distributed in a zone 55 km long by 8 km wide which may lie above a major fracture zone. Some eruptive fissures trend obliquely across this zone, suggesting right-lateral movement along the fracture. Basaltic eruptions were confined to a much smaller area than in the preceding millennia perhaps due to the formation, at the time of the great Fogo A eruption 5000 years ago, of a broad trachytic magma chamber underlying the Agua de Pau and Furnas volcanoes which basaltic magma has since been unable to penetrate.

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