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Jonathan M. Lees
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In this presentation I will introduce some of the important geological/geophysical issues related to the Galapagos Volcanic center. Recent studies on the tectonic evolution of the Galapagos hot spot and its relationship to the Galapagos spreading ridge suggest it has moved considerably over the last 20 My. In this sense, the Galapagos hot spot is an analogue of the Iceland Hotspot and may provide insights into the evolution of ridge-hotspot interaction. Aseismic ridges resulting from hotspot volcanism cause considerable deformation of oceanic lithosphere prior to subduction. Deformation associated with hot spot traces, such as the Carnegie Ridge, the Emperor Seamounts and the Izu-Bonin arcs may significantly affect volcanism in subduction zones. Illustrations in Kamchatka, Japan and Ecuador will be presented. A new, high resolution, temporary seismic array (SIGNET) was established by Rochester University in 2009 on Isabella Island, targeting Volcano Sierra Negra. The main goal of SIGNET is to investigate seismicity and structure in the caldera and elucidate the nature of trap door faulting characteristic of the eruptions at Sierra Negra. I will explain the ongoing geophysical research, show photographs, and discuss ideas for future research directions on the Islands.
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