The volcanic history of Volcán Alcedo, Galápagos Archipelago: a case study of rhyolitic oceanic volcanism

Bulletin of Volcanology
By: , and 



Volcán Alcedo is one of the seven western Galápagos shields and is the only active Galápagos volcano known to have erupted rhyolite as well as basalt. The volcano stands 4 km above the sea floor and has a subaerial volume of 200 km3, nearly all of which is basalt. As Volcán Alcedo grew, it built an elongate domal shield, which was partly truncated during repeated caldera-collapse and partial-filling episodes. An outward-dipping sequence of basalt flows at least 250 m thick forms the steepest (to 33°) flanks of the volcano and is not tilted; thus a constructional origin for the steep upper flanks is favored. About 1 km3 of rhyolite erupted late in the volcano's history from at least three vents and in 2–5 episodes. The most explosive of these produced a tephra blanket that covers the eastern half of the volcano. Homogeneous rhyolitic pumice is overlain by dacite-rhyolite commingled pumice, with no stratigraphic break. The tephra is notable for its low density and coarse grain size. The calculated height of the eruption plume is 23–30 km, and the intensity is estimated to have been 1.2x108 kg/s. Rhyolitic lavas vented from the floor of the caldera and from fissures along the rim overlie the tephra of the plinian phase. The age of the rhyolitic eruptions is ≤120 ka, on the basis of K-Ar ages. Between ten and 20 basaltic lava flows are younger than the rhyolites. Recent faulting resulted in a moat around part of the caldera floor. Alcedo most resently erupted sometime between 1946 and 1960 from its southern flank. Alcedo maintains an active, transient hydrothermal system. Acoustic and seismic activity in 1991 is attributed to the disruption of the hydrothermal system by a regional-scale earthquake.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The volcanic history of Volcán Alcedo, Galápagos Archipelago: a case study of rhyolitic oceanic volcanism
Series title Bulletin of Volcanology
DOI 10.1007/BF00302078
Volume 56
Issue 4
Year Published 1994
Language English
Publisher Springer
Description 18 p.
First page 243
Last page 260
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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