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Role of the structural inheritance of the oceanic lithosphere in the magmato-tectonic evolution of Piton de la Fournaise volcano (La Réunion Island)

Abstract : La Réunion Island is located east of Madagascar, on the eastern rim of the tectonically inactive Mascarene Basin. This island is composed of three shield volcanoes of which only Piton de la Fournaise is currently active. Although the magmatic activity is restricted to Piton de la Fournaise, a scattered seismicity occurs on the whole 200 km wide volcanic edifice and in the underlying oceanic crust. We carried out a multiscale analysis to understand (1) the origin of the seismicity in the geodynamic context and (2) the role of the oceanic lithosphere in the deformation of Piton de la Fournaise and La Réunion Island. Analysis of the magmatic system suggests that the magma ascent is controlled by large N25–30 and N125–130 fracture zones located below the Enclos depression. We also show that the orientation difference between the eruptive fissures and the related dykes result from a rotation of the main principal stress s 1 from vertical to downslope through the surface. Combining a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) analysis, field observations and the geophysical data reveals that the volcano is affected by large fault zones. The fault distribution indicates the predominance of a main N70–80 trend. Magnetic data show the same N80 orientation characterizing the remnant part of the Alizés volcano. Such parallel alignment suggests a control exerted by the underlying Alizés volcano on Piton de la Fournaise. Furthermore, the alignment between the crustal orientations and the structures determined on the island suggests a control of the crustal structures in La Réunion 's volcano-tectonic activity. Contrary to several volcanic islands such as Hawaii and Tenerife, La Réunion volcanoes lie on an upbending crust. Then, we interpret the reactivation of the crustal faults as resulting from a crustal uplift related to the thermal erosion of the base of the lithosphere and/or to strong underplating. The upward deformation may prevent the spreading of the volcanoes, as no evidence of such a mechanism is observed in the bathymetry and the seismic data around the island.
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Laurent Michon, Francky Saint-Ange, Patrick Bachèlery, Nicolas Villeneuve, Thomas Staudacher. Role of the structural inheritance of the oceanic lithosphere in the magmato-tectonic evolution of Piton de la Fournaise volcano (La Réunion Island). Journal of Geophysical Research : Solid Earth, American Geophysical Union, 2007, 112 (B4), pp.B04205. ⟨10.1029/2006JB004598⟩. ⟨insu-01353192⟩

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