The 'explosive' history of Tenerife

Posted by pt91 at Oct 06, 2011 12:15 PM |
A geological find by University of Leicester volcanologists on this holiday island has been described as "one of the best in the world".

Volcanologists Pablo Dávila-Harris and Dr Mike Branney from our Department of Geology have discovered the beautifully preserved remains of an ancient landslide amid the canyons and ravines of Tenerife. Dr Branney described the find as one of the world’s best-preserved examples of such a phenomenon.

The landslide occurred 733,000 years ago following a volcanic eruption on the island. Normally, debris from such an event would spread out across the ocean floor - finding the remains so well-preserved and accessible is rare. Dr Branney described the rubble as "beautifully displayed", including blocks of rapidly-cooled lava from the volcano and radioactive minerals, which were used to date the event.

The opportunity to study these remains up close will help geologists better understand the effects of volcanic eruptions and landslides, vital for helping communities prepare for such events in the future.

The paper, co-authored with Michael Storey from Roskilde University in Denmark, has been published in the journal Geology.

Helecho Landslide_4.jpg
Pablo Dávila-Harris (lower left) looks at part of the huge landslide deposit discovered on Tenerife. The central dark debris-block is about 15 metres in diameter.