Bulletin of Volcanology

, 79:1 | Cite as

The use of biotite trace element compositions for fingerprinting magma batches at Las Cañadas volcano, Tenerife

  • J. T. Sliwinski
  • B. S. Ellis
  • P. Dávila-Harris
  • J. A. Wolff
  • P. H. Olin
  • O. Bachmann
Research Article


Accurate identification of individual volcanic events in the field is crucial for constraining eruption volumes and calculating recurrence intervals between eruptive episodes. Due to complexities of pyroclastic transport and deposition and intra-unit textural variability, such identification can be challenging. We present a novel method for fingerprinting ignimbrites via trace element chemistry (V, Co, Nb) in biotite by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Using samples from the alkaline magmatic series of Tenerife, we are able to demonstrate (1) clustering of previously characterized units into distinct, homogeneous groups based on V, Co, and Nb concentrations in biotite, despite the presence of extreme variation and zonation in other trace elements (Ba, Sr, Rb) that indicate complex petrogenetic processes, and (2) biotite compositions are similar throughout a deposit and relatively independent of stratigraphic height or juvenile clast texture (crystal-rich vs crystal-poor). Our results show that trace elements in biotite can be used to fingerprint eruptions and correlate geographically separated volcanic deposits, including those preserved in offshore turbidite records.


Stratigraphy Tenerife Alkaline magmatism Trace element chemistry Biotite 



We would like to thank Alina Fiedrich for assistance in the field and Lukas Martin for his help in microprobe analysis. Wolff and Olin’s Tenerife work was funded by NSF grant EAR0001013. Sliwinski, Ellis, and Bachmann were funded by Swiss NSF grant 200021_166281.

Supplementary material

445_2016_1088_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (257 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 256 kb)
445_2016_1088_MOESM2_ESM.docx (105 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 104 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. T. Sliwinski
    • 1
  • B. S. Ellis
    • 1
  • P. Dávila-Harris
    • 2
  • J. A. Wolff
    • 3
  • P. H. Olin
    • 4
  • O. Bachmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Geochemistry and PetrologyETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Applied Geoscience DepartmentInstituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y TecnológicaSan Luis PotosíMexico
  3. 3.School of the EnvironmentWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  4. 4.CODES Center of Excellence and School of Physical SciencesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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