Mapping the Spatial Distribution of CO2 release from Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii, USA

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 8:45 AM
Cynthia A Werner1, Christoph Kern2, A Jeff Sutton3, Tamar Elias3, Erik H Hauri4 and Peter J Kelly2, (1)USGS Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK, United States, (2)Cascades Volcano Observatory - USGS, Vancouver, WA, United States, (3)USGS, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii National Park, HI, United States, (4)Carnegie Inst Washington, Washington, DC, United States
Kīlauea Volcano is a large emitter of volcanic CO2 with emission rates ranging from 7500-30,000 t/d. However, Kīlauea presents a challenging situation for CO2 emission rate measurement in that the main source of SO2 is the active vent in Halema’uma’u Crater, whereas CO2 emits mainly from a large (> 1km2) diffuse region east of the vent. Previous researchers recognized this issue and advocated for the use of a plume-integrated concentration ratio paired with the SO2 emission to determine CO2 emission rates; however, this worked best prior to the opening of the summit vent in 2008, or when SO2emission was still diffuse as opposed to focused degassing from the vent.

We used two techniques to study the spatial distribution and temporal variability of CO2 release from the summit caldera in July, 2014. Eddy covariance measurements made at 14 locations in the area of diffuse emission resulted in elevated fluxes that generally ranged from 500 to > 5000 g/m2d, or typical of other volcanic and hydrothermal areas worldwide. MultiGas measurements of the CO2 and SO2 concentration in air at 1-m above the ground identified approximately seven areas of elevated area of CO2 degassing in the caldera. The CO2 concentrations in air were spatially well correlated to approximately 100 m and displayed anisotropy that was consistent with the measured wind direction. Areas of highest CO2 concentration correlated with the areas of highest flux using the eddy covariance method and were found near the middle of the caldera approximately 1 km NE of the active vent. This area overlies the inferred location of the shallow summit reservoir, and is characterized by linear fractures with adhered sublimate deposits at the surface. A few of the fractures are visibly fuming, but much of the degassing in the area is not apparent. Future work includes monitoring the fluxes in this area over time, and attempting to quantify emission rates from the areas of measured flux.