3D Attenuation Tomography of the Volcanic Island of Tenerife (Canary Islands)

J Prudencio, J M Ibanez, E Del Pezzo, J Martí, A Garcia-Yeguas, L De Siena

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This paper shows a new multidisciplinary interpretation approach to the internal structure of Tenerife Island. The central core of this work is the determination of the three-dimensional attenuation structure of the region using P-waves and the coda normalization method. This study has been performed using 45,303 seismograms recorded at 85 seismic stations from an active experiment (air gun shots) conducted in January 2007. The interpretation of these new results is done combining the new images with previous studies performed in the area such as seismic velocity tomography, magnetic structure, magnetotelluric surveys or gravimetric models. Our new 3D images indicate the presence of seismic attenuation contrasts, with areas of high and low seismic attenuation patterns. High seismic attenuation zones are observed both in shallow and in deeper areas. The shallowest area of Las Cañadas caldera complex (1–3 km thick) is dominated by high attenuation behavior, and it is interpreted as the combined effect of sedimentary and volcanoclastic deposits, multifracture systems and the presence of shallow aquifers. At the same time, the deeper analyzed area, more than 8 km below sea level, is dominated by a high attenuation pattern, and it is interpreted as the consequence of the effect of high-temperature rocks in the crustal–mantle boundary. This interpretation is compatible and confirmed by previous models that indicate the presence of underplating magma in this region. On the contrary, some low attenuation bodies and structures have been identified at different depths. A deep low attenuation central body is interpreted as the original central structure associated with the early stage of Tenerife Island. At shallower depths, some low attenuation bodies are compatible with old intermediate magmatic chambers postulated by petrological studies. Finally, in the north of the island (La Orotava valley) we can interpret the low attenuation structure as the headwall of this valley, supporting the idea that Las Cañadas caldera and this valley resulted from two different destructive processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-716
Number of pages24
JournalSurveys in Geophysics
Issue number5
Early online date6 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015

Bibliographical note

This work was funded by several projects as Grupo de Investigacio´n en Geofı´sica y Sismologı´a from the Andalusian Regional Program, APASVO (TEC2012-31551) Spanish project and by the EU project MED-SUV (EC-FP7 MEDiterranean SUpersite Volcanoes). MED-SUV has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Program for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 308665. We also want to acknowledge the very useful contribution of the Editorin-Chief and an anonymous reviewer that helped us to improve the present paper. The first author is funded by the International Research Promotion Office from ERI (University of Tokyo), and Edoardo Del Pezzo was partially funded by the V2-Precursori project from DPC-INGV.


  • attenuation
  • scattering
  • tomography
  • Tenerife
  • Canary Islands


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