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Geoscientist Online

Volcanic Geology of São Miguel Island (Azores Archipelago)

xdfjkThe large format memoir volume is made up of 22 separate stand-alone papers in which São Miguel’s location and evolution, as well as the Azorean Archipelago as a whole, are explained with respect to the triple junction between the North American, Eurasian and Nubai plates, the Mid Oceanic Ridge and the Terceira Rift Zone. 

Volcanism is still active on São Miguel.  A brief description of the types of volcanoes, and the eruption types are presented.  Volcanic and landslide hazards with respect to the geomorphology and geology of São Miguel are described, as are some eruptions and their consequences.  A number of damaging landslides have occurred since colonization of the Azores began in the 15th Century. A series of maps depicts landslide hazard potential on the island, with a discussion on landslide-monitoring activities.  Several historical accounts of damage caused by landslides to houses, villages and farms are also given.

The history of damaging earthquakes on or near São Miguel is discussed in depth.  Modeling of seismic hazard, vulnerability and risk is discussed in relative detail, using modern seismic hazard and risk-assessment methods.  One of the main reasons why the island displays high seismic risk with only a moderate level of seismic hazard, is that much of the older building stock was built from stone rubble, without the benefit of a modern building code.

A discussion on degassing of carbon dioxide and radon from soil takes the reader from the subsurface and into several building types.  Some information on the effects of environmental conditions and the concentration of CO2 or radon in buildings is included. Mitigation of volcanic gases by the use of barriers and passive venting are the only gas-reduction techniques discussed. 

Overall I found this book to be an excellent general resource for the geology, seismicity, seismic hazards, volcanic hazards and related effects for São Miguel, as well as a basic resource for the geology of the eastern portion of the Azorean Archipelago.

Reviewed by Robert Anderson

VOLCANIC GEOLOGY OF SÃO MIGUEL ISLAND (AZORES ARCHIPELAGO) by J L GASPAR,  J E GUEST, A M DUNCAN, F J A S BARRIGA AND D K CHESTER (eds) 2015. Published by: The Geological Society, ISBN:  978-1-86239-731-6 List Price:  £95.00 Fellows Price:  £47.50 W: https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/M0044