Abstract

An extensive debris-avalanche deposit has been discovered on Cañadas volcano, Tenerife (Canary Islands). The onshore component of the 733 ± 3 ka Abona landslide deposit exposes classic block facies and mixed facies across 90 km2. Three lines of evidence together show that the avalanche was triggered by an ignimbrite-forming explosive eruption: (1) the deposit is enclosed by phonolitic ignimbrites and is draped by a Plinian fallout layer, all within a single eruption unit; (2) it contains prismatic-jointed pumice blocks that were hot during landslide emplacement, indicated by chilled rims and breadcrust surfaces; (3) these blocks yield the same 40Ar/39Ar date as the associated ignimbrite and fall deposit. Landslide hummocks dammed surface water, forming ephemeral lakes perched on the volcano flank. Phonolite dome growth destabilized the southeast sector of a mid-Pleistocene Cañadas caldera wall, and created a major breach that affected the passage of destructive pyroclastic density currents on Tenerife for 0.5 m.y., showing that landslides can have enduring consequences for pyroclastic dispersal and hazards.

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