A scientific study warns of the existence of a “hot heart” of magma under Teide

A scientific study has made it possible to visualize and characterize for the first time a “hot heart” of magma under the island of Tenerife, located less than 10 kilometers deep from the mouth of the Teide volcano, which could be a precursor sign of a process eruptive in it.

This is a scientific collaboration between researchers from the Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics of Novosibirsk, in Russia, the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan) and the University of Granada.

The research, reports the University of Granada, has revealed the secrets of the interior of the island of Tenerife through a new seismic tomography study that has included the analysis of the microseismicity located in the interior of the island.

According to the researchers, the tomography clearly shows that, in the crust below the Las Cañadas caldera, the presence of small magmatic reservoirs at depths of less than five kilometers is possible.

These reservoirs allow the magma to cool, changing its chemical composition towards phonolite, a potentially explosive type of magma.

These magmatic reservoirs may be the source of highly explosive eruptions such as the one that occurred at the Montaña Blanca volcano around 2,000 years ago and which was of the sub-Plinian type, the scientists explain.

The study also points out why the eruptions in Tenerife that occur outside the Las Cañadas caldera have a more effusive character.

The results of this study, which have been recently published in the “Journal of Geophysical Research”, one of the most relevant international scientific journals in the field of geophysics published by the American Geophysical Society, constitute an important tool for interpreting the increase in seismicity in Tenerife and the emission of carbon dioxide from the Teide crater, which the Involcan has detected since the end of 2016.

This activity, they add, could be related to the slow ascent of a diapir, that is, a magma “bubble”, at depths greater than 10 kilometers below Teide, knowledge that will be useful for a better interpretation of the precursor signals. of a possible eruptive process in Tenerife.

This seismic tomography study has been possible as a result of the launch in 2016 of the Canary Islands Seismic Network managed by the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands and which currently has 19 broadband seismic stations that have allowed lowering the capacity of detection and location of thousands of micro-earthquakes in Tenerife.

The data, together with those previously recorded by the National Geographic Institute (IGN), have made it possible to use seismic tomography to investigate the interior of the island up to a depth of 20 kilometers, and determine the speed of the seismic S waves, which are the more sensitive to the presence of hydrothermal fluids and magma.

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