Hunt, James E., Wynn, Russell B., Masson, Douglas G., Talling, Peter J. and Teagle, Damon A.H.
Sedimentological and geochemical evidence for multistage failure of volcanic island landslides: A case study from Icod landslide on north Tenerife, Canary Islands
Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 12, . (doi:10.1029/2011GC003740).
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Volcanic island landslides can pose a significant geohazard through landslide-generated tsunamis. However, a lack of direct observations means that factors influencing tsunamigenic potential of landslides remain poorly constrained. The study of distal turbidites generated from past landslides can provide useful insights into key aspects of the landslide dynamics and emplacement process, such as total event volume and whether landslides occurred as single or multiple events. The northern flank of Tenerife has undergone multiple landslide events, the most recent being the Icod landslide dated at ?165 ka. The Icod landslide generated a turbidite with a deposit volume of ?210 km3, covering 355,000 km2 of seafloor off northwest Africa. The Icod turbidite architecture displays a stacked sequence of seven normally graded sand and mud intervals (named subunits SBU1–7). Evidence from subunit bulk geochemistry, volume, basal grain size, volcanic glass composition and sand mineralogy, combined with petrophysical and geophysical data, suggests that the subunit facies represents multistage retrogressive failure of the Icod landslide. The basal subunits (SBU1–3) indicate that the first three stages of the landslide had a submarine component, whereas the upper subunits (SBU4–7) originated above sea level. The presence of thin, non-bioturbated, mud intervals between subunit sands suggests a likely time interval of at least several days between each stage of failure. These results have important implications for tsunamigenesis from such landslides, as multistage retrogressive failures, separated by several days and with both a submarine and subaerial component, will have markedly lower tsunamigenic potential than a single-block failure.
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