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Roque del Saucillo, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.

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Photo ID: 552
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Photo Title: Roque del Saucillo, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.
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Keywords:
roque del saucillo, gran canaria, canary islands, tephri-phonolite, tephri-phonolite lava, feldspathoid, hauyne, clinopyroxene, augite, phenocryst, sanidine, igneous intrusion, intrusion, intrusive dome, roque nublo volcano, tenteniguada formation, lava, magma, volcano, geochemical differentiation, crystallization, fissure, fault, rift, dike, sill, feeder vent, erosion,
Description:
Located along the steep escarpment of the Tenteniguada erosive escarpment, near to the north eastern edge of the island’s easternmost highlands, the 1690m high Roque del Saucillo is one of a significant number of igneous intrusions to be found on the island of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, forming part of the Roque Nublo volcano’s Tenteniguada Formation. These intrusions formed more or less around the periphery of the statovolcano’s central emission area, in the centre of the island and represent the culmination of two separate periods of geochemical differentiation of its magmas, the first between 3.9 and 3.8 million years ago, marking the beginning of a period when the volcano’s activity was to become dominated by highly explosive eruptions and the second between 3.1 and 2.7 million years ago during the waning stages of the volcano’s activity. The Roque del Saucillo stands some 150 tall from its western base and is composed of tephri-phonolite of a light greenish-grey colour. The rock contains altered feldspathoid crystals of hauyne, augite and few but very large phenocrysts of sanidine. The intrusion is dated as 2.95 million years old and was formed during the waning stages of the Pliocene, Roque Nublo volcano’s activity. Much of the eastern side of the rock is composed of Roque Nublo volcano breccia deposits into which it intruded (lower large angled block to the right of the formation) It may or may not have had a lava flow associated to it. An igneous intrusion is a body of molten magma that has risen toward the surface of the earth, forcing its way through fissures or faults until reaching the surface. These may be small fissure sized intrusions which when made visible by erosion are called dikes, or they may force apart the rock structures and form huge dome shaped bodies of rock. Many intrusions reach the surface and act as the feeder vents for volcanic eruptions and have lava flows associated to them (as does this one) Others may fail to reach the surface as a result of a decline in the magma supply and crystallize below ground (cooling and solidifying completely). Millions of years later, these intrusions become exposed by the erosion and / or gravitational collapse of the surrounding rocks and form spectacular pillars or towers of rock. (see also close up image of rock)
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