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Tectonism and volcanism enhanced by deglaciation events in southern Iceland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 November 2019

Brigitte Van Vliet-Lanoë*
IUEM-Université de Bretagne Occidentale, CNRS UMR 6538 Géosciences Océan, 29280Plouzané, France
Françoise Bergerat
Institut des Sciences de la Terre de Paris, Sorbonne Université, CNRS, UMR 7193, Paris, 75005, France
Pascal Allemand
Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon LGLTPE, Université Lyon, 1 and ENS-Lyon 2, CNRS, UMR 5276, Villeurbanne, 69622 Cedex, France
Christophe Innocentd
Bureau des Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM)–LAB/ISO, Orléans; 45060 Cedex 2, France
Hervé Guillou
LSCE UMR 8212, CNRS-CEA, Bât. 12, Domaines CNRS, Gif/Yvette, 91198, France
Thibault Cavailhes
“EPOC, UMR 5805 CNRS and Université de Bordeaux, 33615Pessac Cedex, France
Águst Guðmundsson
Jarðfræðistofan ehf, Hafnarfjorður, 221, Iceland
Gilles Chazot
IUEM-Université de Bretagne Occidentale, CNRS UMR 6538 Géosciences Océan, 29280Plouzané, France
Jean-Luc Schneider
“EPOC, UMR 5805 CNRS and Université de Bordeaux, 33615Pessac Cedex, France
Philippe Grandjean
Bureau des Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM)–LAB/ISO, Orléans; 45060 Cedex 2, France
Celine Liorzou
IUEM-Université de Bretagne Occidentale, CNRS UMR 6538 Géosciences Océan, 29280Plouzané, France
Sophie Passot
Bureau des Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM)–LAB/ISO, Orléans; 45060 Cedex 2, France
*Corresponding author e-mail address: (B. Van Vliet-Lanoë).


Southern Iceland is one of the main outlets of the Icelandic ice sheet and is subject to seismicity of both tectonic and volcanic origins along the South Iceland Seismic Zone (SISZ). A sedimentary complex spanning Marine Isotopic Stage 6 (MIS 6) to the present includes evidence of both activities. It includes a continuous sedimentary record since the Eemian interglacial period, controlled by a rapid deglaciation, followed by two marine glacioisostasy-forced transgressions, separated by a regression phase connected to an intra-MIS 5e glacial advance. This record has been constrained by tephrostratigraphy and dating. Analysis of this record has provided better insights into the interconnectedness of hydrology and volcanic and tectonic activity during deglaciations and glaciations. Low-intensity earthquakes recurrently affected the water-laid sedimentation during the early stages of unloading, accompanying rifting events, dyke injection, and fault reactivations. During full interglacial periods, earthquakes were significantly less frequent but of higher magnitude along the SISZ, due to stress accumulation, favored by low groundwater levels and more limited magma production. Occurrence of volcanism and seismicity in Iceland is commonly related to rifting events. Subglacial volcanic events seem moreover to have been related to stress unlocking related to limited or full unloading/deglaciation events. Major eruptions were mostly located at the melting margin of the ice sheet.

Research Article
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2019

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