Carbon dioxide emissions from fumarolic ice towers, Mount Erebus volcano, Antarctica
L. J. Wardell, P. R. Kyle, A. R. Campbell, 2003. "Carbon dioxide emissions from fumarolic ice towers, Mount Erebus volcano, Antarctica", Volcanic Degassing, C. Oppenheimer, D. M. Pyle, J. Barclay
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Degassing at Mount Erebus occurs as a plume from a persistent convecting anorthoclase phonolite lava lake, and by flank degassing through warm ground and fumarolic ice towers within the summit caldera. The fumarolic ice towers offer a unique and simple approach to quantifying the flank CO2 emissions. Carbon dioxide effluxes were determined at openings in the ice towers by measuring the CO2 concentration, air-flow velocity, and size of the exit orifice. Fluxes ranged from <0.0001 to 0.034 kg s−1 at 43 actively degassing ice towers. Small patches of steaming warm ground contributed 0.010 kg s−1. The δ13C isotopic compositions of the CO2 samples ranged from -2.1 to -4.7%o, suggesting a magmatic origin for the CO2. Fumarolic ice towers allow diffuse degassing to be visually identified, providing a strong advantage in determining the total flux rate of these passive emissions. The estimated output of flank CO2 degassing is 0.46 kg s−1 (40 Mg d_1). Compared with direct airborne measurements of the volcanic plume, passive flank emissions constitute less than 2% of the total volcanic CO2 budget emitted from Mount Erebus.
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Humans have long marvelled at (and feared) the odorous and colourful manifestations of volcanic emissions, and, in some cases, have harnessed them for their economic value. The degassing process responsible for these phenomena is now understood to be one of the key factors influencing the timing and nature of volcanic eruptions. Moreover the surface emissions of these volatiles can have profound effects on the atmospheric and terrestrial environment, and climate. Even more fundamental are the relationships between the history of planetary outgassing, differentiation of the Earth’s interior, chemistry of the atmosphere and hydrosphere, and the origin and evolution of life. This book provides a compilation of 23 papers that investigate the behaviour of volatiles in magma, the feedbacks between degassing and magma dynamics, and the composition, flux, and environmental, atmospheric and climatic impacts of volcanic gas emissions.