Skip to main content

Trace element composition of ancient volcanic cycles in Tenerife - a tool for predicting the style of future eruptions


Research objectives and content
The major aim of this project is to develop a geochemical method for predicting the volcanic style of the next eruption in Tenerife. This will be based on a model using variations in the concentrations of strongly incompatible elements as tracers for that of water in the melt of the magma chamber under Teide. The model will show the concentrations of incompatible trace elements at the stage when the melt is saturated in water, which unmixes to a free fluid phase, and give rise to an explosive eruption. To establish the model, eruptive products from several eruptive cycles in the caldera wall (starting with basaltic volcanism, and ending in an explosive phonolite eruption) will be analysed for trace elements. Detailed age determinations of eruptive products from the eruptive cycles will give a time scale. When the trace element contents of the magmatic products of the last eruptions from Teide is compared to this model, it will be possible to make a relatively precise prediction for the time of the next large explosive eruption in Tenerife. The method may be adapted to other volcano systems.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
One of the main objectives of the project is to improve my analytical skills and increase my expertise within the fields of magmatic petrology and volcanology. Especially extensive analytical experience on ICPMS with laser method is valuable for me, since many institutions this method rather than ionprobe for trace elements point analyses. At the moment several laboratories at scientific institutions in Norway are planning to instal ICPMS with laser, but no Norwegian scientist has extensive experience with the method. In addition, the project will enable me to expand my analytical experience to cover evolved volcanic rock types, which are considered difficult to analyse for many major and trace elements. I will also get experience in volcanology which is rare among Norwegian scientist. My chance of obtaining a scientific position in Norway would greatly improve through the training in volcanology and analytical work that this project will provide.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The scientific tool predicting future explosive eruptions will be specifically developed for Tenerife. However, the basic idea of the tool will be applicable to other active volcanoes where one has the opportunity to analyse former volcanic cycles. The project is of environmental, rather than industrial importance, nevertheless, it may have a significant economic impact as it eventually addresses forecasting of volcanic eruptions.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


S/n,lluis Solt Sabaris S/n
08028 Barcelona