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Geological Sciences Seminar: Marc Antoine Longpré, CUNY/Queens College

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Reactivation of quiescent hotspot volcanoes: Insights from the Canary Islands

Quantifying the nature and timescales of processes by which quiescent volcanoes reactivate to erupt again remains a challenging but important goal of modern volcano science. General relationships between the duration of precursory activity (that is, eruption run-up) and other variables, such as repose period and magma composition, are promising for improved eruption forecasting and understanding of the life cycles of volcanoes but need further testing at “controlled” case studies. This work focuses on the Canary Islands, which represent an ideal natural laboratory to test ideas on the behavior of quiescent hotspot volcanoes fed from deep within Earth. Petrologic data on historical eruptions suggest that (1) reactivation of Canary Island volcanoes is controlled by new influx of deep-sourced magma into the upper mantle magmatic system and that (2) the time lapse between this deep recharge and eruption is typically on the order of months to years. This is consistent with geophysical monitoring data for the recent eruptions on ElHierro(2011–2012) and La Palma (2021). The behavior of Canary Island volcanoes, characterized by comparatively protracted periods of quiescence and unrest, appears at odds with global systematics for basaltic volcanoes. The recent eruptions also showcase how their impact is strongly controlled by vent location as well as the magmas’ high volatile content.

Marc Antoine Longpré is an Associate Professor at Queens College, City University of New York, and a Guest Investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. After a BSc (Hons) in Earth Sciences (2003) at McGill University in Montreal, Marc obtained a Ph.D. (2009) from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, where he studied the relationship between large-scale landslides and volcanism in the Canary Islands. He then returned to McGill for a postdoc focusing on arc volcanism in Nicaragua. Marc joined the Queens College faculty in 2013, where his research addresses questions primarily relating to magma degassing and timescales of magmatic processes. He is currently on sabbatical leave as a Guest Investigator at Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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