Flank collapse and large-scale landsliding in the Cape Verde Islands, off West Africa

Masson, D.G.; Le Bas, T.P.; Grevemeyer, I.; Weinrebe, W.. 2008 Flank collapse and large-scale landsliding in the Cape Verde Islands, off West Africa. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9. Q07015.

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Large-scale landslides occur on the flanks of many volcanic oceanic islands worldwide. None have taken place in historical time, but their geohazard potential, especially their ability to generate tsunamis, is large. The Cape Verde Islands are a group of 10 large and several smaller volcanic islands off the coast of West Africa between 15 and 17°N. A single flank landslide has previously been described from the island of Fogo, but systematic analysis of the Cape Verde group has until now been lacking. This paper describes and interprets a multibeam bathymetry data set covering the slopes of the western Cape Verde Islands, including those of the islands with the most recent volcanic activity, Fogo in the southwest, and Santo Antao in the northwest. All of the larger islands show evidence of large flank landslides, although only Fogo and the southwest part of Santo Antao have failed in the last 400 ka. Tope de Coroa, the volcano at the southwest end of Santo Antao, has been inactive for the past 170 ka and is judged to have a low landslide potential unless volcanic activity resumes. In contrast, there would seem to be a high probability of a future east directed landslide on Fogo, from the area of the highly active Pico do Fogo volcano, although it is impossible to predict a timescale for such an event. A tsunami generated by such a landslide could have a catastrophic effect on the adjacent island of Santiago and possibly even farther afield on the West African coast.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1525-2027
Additional Keywords: Cape Verde; landslide; swath bathymetry
Date made live: 08 Aug 2008 +0 (UTC)

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