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Cruz de Saucillo, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.

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Photo ID: 907
Gallery ID: 62
Photo Title: Cruz de Saucillo, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.
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Keywords:
cruz de saucillo, gran canaria, canary islands, hauyne-phonolite rock, alkaline hauyne-phonolite lava, phonolite, 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,
Description:
Forming the high ridge in between the Tenteniguada erosive depression, near to the north eastern edge of the island’s easternmost highlands, and the Barranco de Lechucilla, the 1800m high Cruz de 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. Although it has been interpreted as an intrusion, this rock formation does not have the traditional spectacular dome shaped structure as others do and remains buried under the surrounding lavas, it is also one of very few that actually were the emission point for widespread lava flows. This intrusion probably represents the most differentiated magma of the Roque Nublo cycle and is composed of hauyne-phonolite, of a dark greenish grey colour with an abundance of small hauyne phenocrysts together with large phenocrysts of sanidine. The hauyne is largely altered to deep red and black colour. The intrusion is dated as 2.9 million years old, although it seems that the lava flow is dated as 2.87 million years and is the very last activity from the Roque Nublo cycle, having occurred well after the cessation of activity and gravitational collapse of the stratovolcano of the same name. 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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