Comparison of diffuse CO2 degassing at Miravalles and Rincón de la Vieja volcanoes (Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica)
Abstract:Volcanic gas emissions are a key component for monitoring volcanic activity, magmatic input of volatiles to the atmosphere and the assessment of geothermal potential in volcanic regions. Diffuse soil degassing has been shown to represent a major part of volcanic gas emissions. However, this type of gas emission has not yet been quantified in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica; a region of the country with several large, active or dormant volcanoes. We conducted the first study of diffuse CO2 degassing at Rincón de la Vieja and Miravalles volcanoes, both located in Guanacaste. Diffuse degassing was measured using the accumulation chamber method to quantify CO2 flux in regions where hydrothermal surface features indicate anomalous activity. The total diffuse carbon dioxide flux estimated at Miravalles in two areas, together roughly 2 km2 in size, was 135 t/day and in several areas at Rincón de la Vieja a minimum of 4 t/day.
Comparatively low flux values and a very local concentration (few m2) of CO2 flux were observed at the active Rincón de la Vieja volcano, compared to the dormant Miravalles volcano, where significant soil flux was found over extended areas, not only around vents. Our assessment of the origin of these differences leads to two possibilities depending on if the surface features on the two volcanoes are fed by a common hydrothermal system or two separate ones. In the former case, the different intensity of diffuse CO2 flux could indicate a different degassing behavior and stronger concentration of gas emissions at the active vent areas at Rincon de la Vieja. In the latter case, where the hydrothermal systems are not linked, the amount of CO2 degassed through the flanks of the volcanoes could indicate that different physical and chemical conditions are governing the degassing of the two systems.