Magmatic underplating in the Canary Archipelago
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The location of the Canary Archipelago, at the east edge of the North Atlantic, a few hundred kilometres from the West African coast. has For years posed a serious difficulty in understanding the complex interaction between long-lasting volcanic activity and one of the oldest seafloor basements (>150 Ma) on earth. Many different hypotheses have been proposed in the lost two decades to understand the genesis of the Canary Archipelago. There is an increasing acceptance to explain the archipelago as the product of the slow passage of the African plate over a mantle hotspot. In rival tectonic models, stretching and thinning of the lithosphere would determine the islands as independent volcanic blocks. We review recent geophysical and geological evidence supporting a mantle plume origin for the Canary Islands, based on the recognition of crustal thickening by mafic intrusions produced by the interaction between the mantle plume and the old oceanic lithosphere beneath the Canary Archipelago. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.