Rifting of the oceanic Azores Plateau with episodic volcanic activity

Storch B, Haase K, Romer R, Beier C, Koppers AA (2020)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2020


Book Volume: 10

Article Number: 19718

Journal Issue: 1

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-76691-1


Extension of the Azores Plateau along the Terceira Rift exposes a lava sequence on the steep northern flank of the Hirondelle Basin. Unlike typical tholeiitic basalts of oceanic plateaus, the 1.2 km vertical submarine stratigraphic profile reveals two successive compositionally distinct basanitic to alkali basaltic eruptive units. The lower unit is volumetrically more extensive with ~ 1060 m of the crustal profile forming between ~ 2.02 and ~ 1.66 Ma, followed by a second unit erupting the uppermost ~ 30 m of lavas in ~ 100 kyrs. The age of ~ 1.56 Ma of the youngest in-situ sample at the top of the profile implies that the 35 km-wide Hirondelle Basin opened after this time along normal faults. This rifting phase was followed by alkaline volcanism at D. João de Castro seamount in the basin center indicating episodic volcanic activity along the Terceira Rift. The mantle source compositions of the two lava units change towards less radiogenic Nd, Hf, and Pb isotope ratios. A change to less SiO2-undersaturated magmas may indicate increasing degrees of partial melting beneath D. João de Castro seamount, possibly caused by lithospheric thinning within the past 1.5 million years. Our results suggest that rifting of oceanic lithosphere alternates between magmatically and tectonically dominated phases.

Authors with CRIS profile

Involved external institutions

How to cite


Storch, B., Haase, K., Romer, R., Beier, C., & Koppers, A.A. (2020). Rifting of the oceanic Azores Plateau with episodic volcanic activity. Scientific Reports, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-76691-1


Storch, Bettina, et al. "Rifting of the oceanic Azores Plateau with episodic volcanic activity." Scientific Reports 10.1 (2020).

BibTeX: Download