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An Upper Limit to Ground Deformation in the Island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, for the Period 1997–2006

AuthorsEff-Darwich, Antonio; Grassin, Olivier; Fernández Torres, José CSIC ORCID
KeywordsGround deformation
Volcanic activity
Issue Date2008
PublisherBirkhäuser Verlag
CitationPure and Applied Geophysics, 165 (6) : 1049-1070 (2008).
AbstractContinuous monitoring of ground deformation in the volcanic island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, is based on GPS networks, since there are as yet no tiltmeter stations installed on the island. However, there is a world-class astronomical observatory on the island, the El Teide Observatory, where four tiltmeters, two aligned in the North-South and the other two in the East-West, are monitoring the movements of the solar telescope THEMIS. THEMIS (Heliographic Telescope for the Study of Solar Magnetism and Instabilites) is among the three largest solar telescopes in the world. Since THEMIS is located a few kilometers from the main volcanic structures of the island, in particular the El Teide-Pico Viejo stratovolcano, and the precision of the inclinometers is comparable to those used in geophysical studies, we carried out the analysis of the tilt measurements for the period 1997–2006. The tiltmeters at THEMIS are placed in the seventh floor of a tower, hence their sensitivity to geological processes is reduced compared to geophysical installations. However, THEMIS measurements are the only terrestrial data available in Tenerife for such a long period of observations, which include the sustained increase in seismic activity that started in 2001. In this sense, a significant change was found in the East-West tilt of approximately 35 μ-radians between the years 2000 and 2002. Some theoretical models were calculated and it was concluded that such tilt variation could not be due to dike intrusions, nor a volcanic reactivation below the El Teide-Pico Viejo volcano. The most likely explanation comes from dislocations produced by a secondary fault associated to a major submarine fault off the eastern coast of Tenerife. In any case, taking into account the nearly permanent data recording at THEMIS, they could be considered as a complement for any ground deformation monitoring system in the island.
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