Bottom Characterization with High Resolution Sonar Data and Geochemical Analyses of an Uninvestigated Cone in Lagoa das Furnas on São Miguel Island, Azores Archipelago

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Thommy Andersson, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Lagoa das Furnas is a crater lake located in an area exposed to geohazards from earthquakes and volcanic activity on the island São Miguel in the Azores Archipelago. The Furnas volcanic center has a long history of earthquakes and volcanic activity. The area is relatively well studied except for the lake floor. Therefore, a high resolution geophysical and geological mapping survey was conducted at Lagoa das Furnas. Sidescan sonar was used to map the surface of the lake floor and single beam sonar was used to acquire sub-bottom profiles. In addition to the geophysical mapping, sediment surface sampling and core drilling were carried out followed by geochemical analyses of the retrieved material. The mapped data permitted a characterization of the floor of Lagoa das Furnas and revealed several volcanic features including fumarolic activity and a previously uninvestigated volcanic cone in the southern part of the lake. In order to unravel the origin of this cone several methods were applied, including analyses of tephra and minerals collected from the cone itself and from nearby deposits of two known eruptions, Furnas I and Furnas 1630. Sedimentological, petrological, geochemical and geochronological studies of pyroclastic deposits from the cone suggest a subaqueous eruption linked to the Furnas 1630 eruption. The chemistry of glass and crystal fragments sampled from the cone suggests that it is composed of more evolved magma than that of the main Furnas 1630, implying that the lake cone is likely a product of the last eruptional phase. According to historical records, two of three lakes were lost due the Furnas 1630 eruption. The results of this study show that the remaining lake is most likely Lagoa das Furnas, which consequently must have existed before the 1630 eruption.