Hunt, James E., Cassidy, Michael & Talling, Peter J.
(2018). Multi-stage volcanic island flank collapses with coeval explosive caldera-forming eruptions. Scientific Reports 8
Author(s) from Durham
Volcanic flank collapses and explosive eruptions are among the largest and most destructive processes on Earth. Events at Mount St. Helens in May 1980 demonstrated how a relatively small (<5 km3) flank collapse on a terrestrial volcano could immediately precede a devastating eruption. The lateral collapse of volcanic island flanks, such as in the Canary Islands, can be far larger (>300 km3), but can also occur in complex multiple stages. Here, we show that multistage retrogressive landslides on Tenerife triggered explosive caldera-forming eruptions, including the Diego Hernandez, Guajara and Ucanca caldera eruptions. Geochemical analyses were performed on volcanic glasses recovered from marine sedimentary deposits, called turbidites, associated with each individual stage of each multistage landslide. These analyses indicate only the lattermost stages of subaerial flank failure contain materials originating from respective coeval explosive eruption, suggesting that initial more voluminous submarine stages of multi-stage flank collapse induce these aforementioned explosive eruption. Furthermore, there are extended time lags identified between the individual stages of multi-stage collapse, and thus an extended time lag between the initial submarine stages of failure and the onset of subsequent explosive eruption. This time lag succeeding landslide-generated static decompression has implications for the response of magmatic systems to un-roofing and poses a significant implication for ocean island volcanism and civil emergency planning.