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Quartau R.,Divisao Of Geologia E Georecursos Marinhosinstituto Portugues Do Mar E Da Atmosfera Iplisboa Portugal | Madeira J.,Faculdade Of Ciencias Da University Of Lisboalisboa Portugal | Mitchell N.C.,Atmospheric and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ManchesterManchester | Tempera F.,Marine and Environmental science Center and Institute of Marine Research | And 2 more authors.
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems | Year: 2015

Shelves surrounding reefless volcanic ocean islands are formed by surf erosion of their slopes during changing sea levels. Posterosional lava flows, if abundant, can cross the coastal cliffs and fill partially or completely the accommodation space left by erosion. In this study, multibeam bathymetry, high-resolution seismic reflection profiles, and sediment samples are used to characterize the morphology of the insular shelves adjacent to Pico Island. The data show offshore fresh lava flow morphologies, as well as an irregular basement beneath shelf sedimentary bodies and reduced shelf width adjacent to older volcanic edifices in Pico. These observations suggest that these shelves have been significantly filled by volcanic progradation and can thus be classified as "rejuvenated." Despite the general volcanic infilling of the shelves around Pico, most of their edges are below the depth of the Last Glacial Maximum, revealing that at least parts of the island have subsided after the shelves formed by surf erosion. Prograding lava deltas reached the shelf edge in some areas triggering small slope failures, locally decreasing the shelf width and depth of their edges. These areas can represent a significant risk for the local population; hence, their identification can be useful for hazard assessment and contribute to wiser land use planning. Shelf and subaerial geomorphology, magnetic anomalies and crustal structure data of the two islands were also interpreted to reconstruct the long-term combined onshore and offshore evolution of the Faial-Pico ridge. The subaerial emergence of this ridge is apparently older than previously thought, i.e., before ∼850 ka. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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