Multi-day, real-time measurements of CO2 concentration, CO2/SO2 ratios, and d13C of CO2 in volcanic plume

Monday, 14 December 2015: 08:00
308 (Moscone South)
H.J. Hansjuerg Jost, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Hilterfingen, Switzerland
New real-time measurements of CO2 /SO2 ratios, the CO2 concentration and δ13C of CO2 were acquired from July 16 to 20, 2014 in the active plume about 1 km away from the source at the Central Craters of Mount Etna volcano, Italy. During this innovative study we measured d13C in plume gases at a frequency of 0.1 Hz over 5 days of measurements. Assuming two member mixing processes, the extrapolated carbon-isotope composition of the volcanic CO2 ranged from –1.3‰ to +1.5‰, with uncertainties in the repeated single measurements (i.e., made over periods from 4 to 20 min) that were generally <0.7‰, and surprisingly larger variations over the 5-day study period. The range of extrapolated d13C values mostly overlaps with that obtained by discrete sampling and using isotope-ratio mass spectrometry technique (–2.5‰ < d13C < –0.5‰). However, the particular conditions of volcanic activity during the campaign lead us to propose that the carbon-isotope composition of CO2 degassed from magma can reach values (up to +1.5‰), higher than previously reported.

Simultaneous measurements of the CO2 and SO2 concentrations using the MultiGAS technique were also performed. The volcanic d13C and CO2/SO2 ratios exhibited similar trends over the 5 days of measurements, with the ratios of both tracers peaking on July 16, possibly as a result of the early degassing of CO2 while an eruption was ongoing at Mount Etna.

New questions about the variability of this geochemical tracer arise from the observed variations and the highest d13C values measured at Mount Etna during this campaign. The comparisons with the CO2/SO2 ratio also confirm that monitoring d13C in plume gases in real time, coupled to other geochemical tracers, is important for elucidating the magma dynamics at depth.