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Roque Bentaiga and Cuevas del Rey eruptive centre, Gran Canaria.

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Photo ID: 799
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Photo Title: Roque Bentaiga and Cuevas del Rey eruptive centre, Gran Canaria.
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Keywords:
roque bentaiga, cuevas del rey, gran canaria, canary islands, macaronesia, atlantic islands, oceanic islands, volcanic islands, roque nublo volcano, strombolian cone, intra crater lapilli, breccias, debris, scoria, bombs, dikes, plutonic syenites, cone sheet intrusion, stratovolcano,
Description:
During the Roque Nublo volcanic cycle lasting from 5.3 to 2.87 million years ago, this event was to build a very large stratocone in the centre of the island. The eruptions began with emissions of lava flows of basaltic, basanitic and later tephritic composition, then at around 3.9 million years the eruption became highly explosive, emitting a series of non-welded lithic rich ignimbrites; the Roque Nublo breccias. Also during this period, sometime between 3.9 and 3 million years ago, a number of small strombolian eruptive centres had formed on the flanks of the central stratovolcano. One of these, the most important one and which forms part of an alignment of three eruptive cones along a fissure on the south-western flanks, is the Cuevas del Rey eruptive center, located just below where the Roque Bentaiga stands today, forming part of the Three Kings. In this image the tallest monolith to the top left of the image is that of the Roque Bentaiga, which is composed of Roque Nublo lavas capped by the eroded remains of Roque Nublo breccias. In the foreground to the left are the highly eroded remains of the inside of the crater belonging to the Cuevas del Rey strombolian cone, which is believed to have measured 1 km in diameter. The red rocks are composed of a mixture of intra crater lapilli, breccias, debris, scoria and bombs, these vivid red tones created by the oxidisation of iron within the rocks by the residual hot, water vapour rich gases escaping from the crater after the eruptions had ceased. The remains of the Cuevas del Rey formation are also cut by basaltic and phonolitic dikes of Roque Nublo age, one of these dikes being clearly seen in this image on the left. The underlying rock formations which form the base of these, are geologically very complex since this strombolian cone and the Roque Bentaiga, stand exactly on top of the focal point of the previously emplaced plutonic syenites and cone sheet intrusions. The formations below are comprised of a complex mixture of layers of fallout pumice, epiclastic materials and the Miocene Caldera de Tejeda intra caldera ignimbrites, which were intruded into by syenite stocks and then structurally uplifted by as much as 1400 metres by the cone sheet swarm, prior to the formation of the Roque Bentaiga. These materials are also criss crossed by numerous dikes of Roque Nublo age. Interestingly there are also breccias that seem to correspond to an older eruptive centre, although no evidence of this centre has ever been found. If it were to have existed, then all the materials emitted have been completely eroded away. Some of the outcrops of solid rock are plutonic syenites. The monolith to the top right is the Roque Nublo, also composed of eroded remains of Roque Nublo volcano breccias.
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