Volcano-tectonic structures of Mayotte’s upper submarine slope: insights from high-resolution bathymetry and in-situ imagery from a deep-towed camera

Type Article
Date 2022
Language English
Author(s) Puzenat Valentine1, Feuillet Nathalie1, Komorowski Jean-Christophe1, Escartín Javier2, Deplus Christine1, Bachèlery Patrick3, Berthod Carole3, Gurioli Lucia4, Scalabrin CarlaORCID4, Cathalot CecileORCID4, Rinnert EmmanuelORCID4, Loubrieu Benoit4, Pierre Delphine4, Pitel-Roudaut MathildeORCID4, Tanguy Nina4, Fouquet Yves4, Jorry StephanORCID4, Lebas Elodie1, Paquet Fabien5, Thinon Isabelle5
Affiliation(s) 1 : Université Paris Cité, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, CNRS, F-75005 Paris, France
2 : Laboratoire de Géologie – CNRS, UMR 8538, École Normale Supérieure, PSL University, Paris, France
3 : Université Clermont-Auvergne, CNRS, IRD, OPGC, LaboratoireMagmas et Volcans, 6 avenue Blaise Pascal, 63178 Aubière, France
4 : Geo-Ocean, Univ Brest, CNRS, Ifremer, UMR6538, F-29280 Plouzane, France
5 : French Geological survey—BRGM, DGR/GBS, Orléans, France
Source Comptes Rendus Geoscience (1631-0713) (Cellule MathDoc/CEDRAM), 2022 , Vol. 354 , N. S2 , P. 81-104
DOI 10.5802/crgeos.175
WOS© Times Cited 1
Note Special issue : The Mayotte seismo-volcanic crisis of 2018-2021 in the Comoros archipelago (Mozambique channel) / La crise sismo-volcanique de 2018-2021 de Mayotte dans l’archipel des Comores (Canal du Mozambique)
Keyword(s) Mayotte, Submarine volcanism, Geological mapping, High-resolution bathymetry, In-situ imagery

Unlike subaerial volcanic activity, deep submarine eruptions are difficult to detect, observe and monitor. The objective of this paper is to describe a large and complex volcanic region, named the Horseshoe area, recently discovered at 1500 m below sea level on the eastern upper submarine slope of Mayotte Island. The area is crucial because, since 2018, it has experienced an exceptionally deep seismic activity associated with the ongoing submarine eruption that formed a new volcanic edifice, Fani Maoré, about 40 km to the east. We present the results of a multiscale study, based on high-resolution bathymetry and in-situ seafloor observations carried out with autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and deep-towed camera systems. In-situ imagery provides ground-truth for the geological interpretation of seafloor textures mapped with the bathymetry. The combination of both datasets allows us to discuss the nature of the volcanic structures and to propose a relative chronology of previous eruptive events in the Horseshoe area. Based on our analyses, we propose the following chronology: (a) the emplacement of a large explosive volcanic cone, the Horseshoe edifice, (b) the later collapse of this edifice that resulted in the formation of an elongated, 2 km wide horseshoe-shaped depression, crosscutting older hummocky lava flows, (c) the development of an E–W eruptive fissure associated with numerous explosive craters, east of the Horseshoe edifice, and (d) late volcanism emanating from the rim of the horseshoe-shaped depression that fed elongated thin lava flows both towards and away from the depression. While all volcanic features mapped at the Horseshoe area were emplaced prior to the 2018 eruption, our study shows that this region has still been volcanically active in the recent past. Our results thus document a complex geological history at small spatial scales involved in the construction of major submarine edifices, and that are controlled by volcano-tectonic processes at larger scales.

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Puzenat Valentine, Feuillet Nathalie, Komorowski Jean-Christophe, Escartín Javier, Deplus Christine, Bachèlery Patrick, Berthod Carole, Gurioli Lucia, Scalabrin Carla, Cathalot Cecile, Rinnert Emmanuel, Loubrieu Benoit, Pierre Delphine, Pitel-Roudaut Mathilde, Tanguy Nina, Fouquet Yves, Jorry Stephan, Lebas Elodie, Paquet Fabien, Thinon Isabelle (2022). Volcano-tectonic structures of Mayotte’s upper submarine slope: insights from high-resolution bathymetry and in-situ imagery from a deep-towed camera. Comptes Rendus Geoscience, 354(S2), 81-104. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.5802/crgeos.175 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00812/92432/