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Authors: Blanco-Montenegro, I.* 
Nicolosi, I.* 
Pignatelli, A.* 
Chiappini, M.* 
Title: Magnetic imaging of the feeding system of oceanic volcanic islands: El Hierro (Canary Islands)
Issue Date: 2008
Series/Report no.: / 173 (2008)
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2008.03723.x
Keywords: Inverse theory
Magnetic anomalies
modelling and interpretation
Oceanic hotspots and intraplate volcanism
Crustal structure
Atlantic Ocean
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.05. Geomagnetism::04.05.04. Magnetic anomalies 
Abstract: El Hierro is the youngest of the Canary Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the central Atlantic, near the African coast. The subaerial part of the island shows the characteristic shape of three convergent ridges that has been interpreted as a triple-arm rift system. At least four giant landslides formed wide, horseshoe embayments that separate these ridges. Recent studies based on high-resolution bathymetry, however, showed that the submarine rift structure is much more complex. We analysed an aeromagnetic anomaly data set acquired in 1993 by the Spanish National Geographic Institute in order to obtain a structural model of the island from a magnetic point of view. A digital elevation model of the volcanic edifice was divided into a mesh of prismatic cells, each of them with a top corresponding to the topographic height (or bathymetric depth in the marine area) and a bottom at a constant depth of 4000 m below sea level. A three-dimensional (3-D) inversion algorithm and forward modelling along representative profiles provided us with a magnetization distribution containing valuable information about the inner structure of the island. The magnetic model cast new light on the rift structure of El Hierro. In particular, high magnetization values have been mainly interpreted as intrusive complexes on which rift zones are rooted. Their location confirms the hypothesis of a complex rift structure in the marine area. The inverse magnetization that characterizes the NE submarine rift area implies that this part of the volcanic edifice formed during the Matuyama and, therefore, predates the NW submarine rift zone, which is normally magnetized. The N–S rift zone extending southwards from the island seems to be shifted to the west with respect to the bathymetric high in this area. This result suggests that the original rift zone was located in the area where the highest magnetizations presently occur so that the present morphology may reflect the westward collapse of the original ridge. In addition, very low magnetizations characterize the areas affected by giant landslides, indicating that magnetic anomalies can provide important constraints on the distribution of these catastrophic events.
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