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Risco Blanco, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.

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Photo ID: 643
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Photo Title: Risco Blanco, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.
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Keywords:
risco blanco, gran canaria, canary islands, risco blanco igneous intrusion, intrusion, intrusive dome, roque nublo volcano, tenteniguada formation, lava, magma, volcano, geochemical differentiation, crystallization, fissure, fault, rift, dike, sill, feeder vent,
Description:
The Risco Blanco igneous intrusion is one of a significant number of intrusions to be found on the island of Gran Canaria, 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. Standing at 400m tall and with a base diameter of 600 metres, The Risco Blanco is the largest of all the visible intrusions around the island. It is located on the northern erosive escarpment of the Tirajana depession and is composed of highly evolved alkaline hauyne-phonolite rock, intruded into previously emplaced Roque Nublo lavas. It is dated as 3.8 million years old and marks the end of the first period of geochemical differentiation (RN1) associated with this volcano and also the beginning of the explosive activity of this volcano. The Risco Blanco is visible today owing to the major gravitational collapses and intense erosion, which have created the Tirajana depression over the past 2.5 million years. Note to the lower left of the dome how the intruding highly viscous magma has forced the bedrock to deform upwards. An igneous intrusion is a body of molten magma that has risen toward the surface of the earth, forcing its way through fissure 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. 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 (as is this case) and form spectacular pillars or towers of rock.
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