11th Field Workshop on Volcanic Gases

2011-09-01 - 08:00 - 2011-09-09
Kamchatka, Russia

Summary of IAVCEI-CCVG meeting (co-sponsored by DCO)

From 1-10 September 2011, a workshop of the IAVCEI Commission on the Chemistry of Volcanic Gases (CCVG) was convened in Kamchatka, Russia. The meeting was co-sponsored by IAVCEI, the Institute of Volcanology and Geophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Deep Carbon Observatory. The workshop was attended by 45 experts in the direct measurement and remote sensing of volcanic gases, consisting of faculty, students and postdoctoral researchers from 14 countries, and included Erik Hauri (DTM, Carnegie Institution) and Jesse Ausubel (Sloan Foundation).

The first two days of the meeting consisted of a series of presentations on the status of volcanic gas studies using remote sensing of volcanic gas plumes (using satellite-based and ground-based sensors), direct sampling of gas plumes and fumaroles, chemistry and fluxes in volcanic hydrothermal systems and spring waters, and petrologic studies of volatiles in silicate melt inclusions. The second day specifically highlighted the measurement of CO2, methane and higher hydrocarbons in volcanic systems from subduction zones, intraplate volcanoes and continental rift zones. This session demonstrated that our understanding of the flux of carbon from volcanic systems is uncertain by more than an order of magnitude, due to incomplete knowledge of the fluxes from large carbon-emitting volcanoes, and the incomplete coverage of existing volcano monitoring networks.

During 4-7 of September, the group went out into the field to perform measurements of volcanic gas fluxes and chemistry; this type of "hands-on" field work is the defining aspect of CCVG workshops held every 3 years. The field excursion, highlighted by rare perfect weather, was initiated on 5 September at the Mutnovsky volcano and geothermal field. A coordinated effort by 6 researchers was nade to measure the sulfur flux of the Mutnovsky volcanic plume using ground-based remote sensing, while the rest of the group hiked to the summit crater where samples of fumarole gases and melt inclusions were obtained, and surveys of ground CO2 emission were conducted. Ten highly dedicated researchers descended by rope the final 150 meters into the summit crater to sample fumarole gases emanating at 350°C. The following day, fluid samples were obtained from the wells of the Mutnovsky geothermal plant. These coordinated measurements will be combined to determine the bulk CO2/SO2 ratio for Mutovsky volcano, and using the remote SO2 flux determinations in order to obtain the first ever estimate of CO2 flux from the Mutnovsky system.

On 6 September, the group went out into the field again to survey nearby Gorely volcano. Three separate remote sensing groups set out to measure the sulfur flux of the Gorely plume from different locations, while 8 researchers ascended to the summit crater to make measurements and observations of the central volcanic vent, from which hot gas (900°C) was jetting at sonic velocities. These observations will again be combined, along with petrologic measurements of melt inclusions from four surrounding cinder cones, to determine the flux of CO2 from Gorely volcano for the first time.

On 8 September, the group met to discuss the future goals of the CCVG and how they mesh with the scientific goals of the DCO's Reservoirs & Fluxes directorate. There was a clear consensus among the group that volcanic CO2 fluxes are uncertain by more than a factor of ten, but that it is feasible to reduce this uncertainty to perhaps a factor of two by undertaking a coordinated global research program to monitor CO2 fluxes from volcanoes. The group recognized that coordination and shared management of open-access data, multi-method comprehensive measurements at individual volcanoes, and public outreach could be the effective pillars of a global effort to establish and sustain a global network dedicated to continuous monitoring of CO2 from some of the world's most active volcanoes.

At the conclusion of the workshop, a 10-person working group of the CCVG was formed to represent an international science team in the DCO's Reservoirs & Fluxes directorate for the purpose of organizing an effort to carry out this research. The committee consists of Tobias Fischer (USA), Alessandro Aiuppa (Italy), Patrick Allard (France), Giovanni Chiodini (Italy), Bo Galle (Sweden), Thor Hansteen (Germany), Yuri Taran (Mexico), and Dario Tedesco (Italy). This group will work over the coming months to determine the scientific directions, short- and long-term scientific goals, and implementation of this new international effort to improve one of the the largest uncertainties in theglobal deep carbon flux budget.

Date: Thursday, 1 September, 2011 - 10:00 - Friday, 9 September, 2011 - 17:00
Location: Kamchatka, Russia

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