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Comparison and cross-checking of historic, archeological and geological evidence for the location and type of historical and subhistorical eruption of multiple vent oceanic island volcanoes

AuthorsDay, S. J.; Carracedo, Juan Carlos ; Guillou, Hervé; Pais Pais, F. J.; Rodríguez Badiola, Eduardo ; Fonseca, J. F. B. D.; Heleno, S. I. N.
KeywordsHistorical and sub-historical eruptions
Eyewitness accounts
Archaeological evidence
Historical documents
La Palma
Canary Islands
Fogo volcano
Cape Verde Islands
Issue DateApr-2000
PublisherGeological Society of London
CitationMcGuire, W.G., Griffiths, D.R., Hancock, P.L. & Stewart, I.S. (eds), The Archaelogy of Geological Catastrophes. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 171, 281-306 (2000)
AbstractOceanic island volcanoes, like many others, have many small vents scattered over their flanks in addition to, or in place of, large summit vents. These small vents are commonly monogenetic and many eruptions of this type of volcano involve activity at more than one such vent: lines of volcanic cones are often produced by eruptions fed by dykes, and if more than one dyke is emplaced during an eruption these vents can be along different alignments, and many kilometres apart. Identifying which vents were produced in which eruptions is an important problem in reconstructing the development of multiplevent volcanoes. Reconstruction of historical and sub-historical eruptions of two oceanic island volcanoes, the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma in the Canary Islands and Chadas Caldeiras volcano on Fogo, Cape Verde Islands, has indicated that historical eyewitness accounts and archaeological evidence can be extremely valuable adjuncts to detailed geological studies. In contrast, secondary accounts including folk memories and earlier accounts in the scientific literature are commonly inconsistent both with the eyewitness accounts and with the results of detailed geological rnapping, archaeological evidence or other historical documents. A common source of error is confusion of the vents of historical eruptions with older but larger or more prominent volcanic vents that lie along the same line of sight as viewed from adjacent settlements or from convenient viewpoints. Examples of this are provided by mis-locations of the vents of the AD 1677 eruption on La Palma and of some of the vents of the AD 1951 eruption on Fogo. Another problem arises when the location or style of eruption on a volcano has changed in early historical time, as has occurred on Fogo. The differences between early historical accounts of eruptions on this volcano and the more detailed accounts of more recent eruptions has led to the discrediting of the former by some researchers, whereas geological studies have supported the early historical accounts.
Description26 pages, 16 figures.-- Full-text version available Open Access at the journal site.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1144/GSL.SP.2000.171.01.21
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