Bulletin of Volcanology

, 77:84 | Cite as

Volcanic evolution of central Basse-Terre Island revisited on the basis of new geochronology and geomorphology data

  • J. RicciEmail author
  • X. Quidelleur
  • P. Lahitte
Research Article


Twenty-six new and seven previous K–Ar ages obtained on groundmass separates for samples from the Axial Chain massif (Guadeloupe, F.W.I.), associated with geomorphological investigations, allow us to propose a new model of the volcanic evolution of the central part of Basse-Terre Island. The Axial Chain is composed of four edifices, Moustique, Matéliane, Capesterre, and Icaque mounts, showing coeval activity from 681 ± 12 to 509 ± 10 ka, which contradicts a previous hypothesis that flank collapse affected them successively. Our geomorphological reconstruction shows that the Axial Chain can be considered as a single large volcano, named the Southern Axial Chain volcano (SCA), rather than a succession of several smaller volcanoes. It raises questions regarding the formation of a large depression within the SCA volcano, prior to the construction of the Sans-Toucher volcano between 451 ± 13 and 412 ± 8 ka. Given presently available evidence, a slump affecting the western part of the SCA volcano is the most probable scenario to reconcile the complete age dataset and the present-day morphology of central Basse-Terre. Finally, our study shows that the SCA volcano had a post-activity volume of 90 km3, implying a construction rate of 0.5 km3/kyr. This value strongly constrains interpretations of magma generation processes throughout the Lesser Antilles arc.


Lesser Antilles Volcanic evolution K–Ar dating Surface modeling Construction rate 



We wish to thank Associate Editor Agust Gudmundsson and Executive Editor James D.L. White as well as David Karatson and an anonymous reviewer for their comments and detailed review that greatly help us to improve this manuscript. We also thank Aurélie Germa for careful reading of the manuscript. Financial support was provided by the SYSTER 2011 and 2012 programs of CNRS-INSU. We thank the French National Geographical Institute (IGN) for providing on-land DEM. We are grateful to the Parc National de la Guadeloupe for sampling authorization and to Patrice Segrétier for his advices regarding field accessibility. This is LGMT contribution 130.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire GEOPS, Dpt Sciences de la TerreUniversity Paris-SudOrsay cedexFrance
  2. 2.CNRSOrsayFrance

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