Environmental impacts of tropospheric volcanic gas plumes
Recent studies suggest that the environmental effects of volcanic gas emissions in the lower troposphere have been underestimated. This chapter first briefly summarizes the techniques available for characterizing tropospheric volcanic gas plumes, including the composition and fluxes of emitted gases and aerosols, as well as their atmospheric dispersion. The second part documents the contribution of gas emissions from degassing craters to the composition of the atmosphere, including effects from dry and wet deposition chemistry. The third section deals with the detrimental impacts on vegetation, soils, and groundwater in relation to passive degassing activity. Improved understanding of the impacts of volcanic degassing on the atmospheric and terrestrial environment will require: (1) systematic two-dimensional and three-dimensional measurements of tropospheric volcanic plumes, (2) development of general physical and chemical models to describe the fate of volcanic gases and aerosols during transport in the troposphere, and (3) investigation of the response of diverse ecosystems to volcanogenic air pollution.
Figures & Tables
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.