DCO Samples Mt. Etna's Helium Isotope Emissions

The Reservoirs and Fluxes Community supported a sampling campaign at Sicily’s Mt. Etna, Earth’s largest emitter of CO2.

Sampling volcanic gasses A sampling campaign at Sicily’s Mt. Etna—Earth’s largest emitter of CO2—was underway in June 2012 with support from the Deep Carbon Observatory's Reservoirs and Fluxes Community. Etna erupts frequently; its last eruption took place April 22, 2012. Plume gases are emitted from the magma body below the crater which is currently at less than 1 km depth from the summit at an altitude of 3300 m.

The fine isotope variations of helium in the air over volcanic areas are being studied as part of DCO’s goal of better quantifying emissions of CO2 from volcanoes. Bernard Marty, Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques (CRPG), is working with Sandro Aiuppa and his team from Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) Palermo, and with Salvo Gianmanco, from INGV Catania to lead the campaign.  Both Aiuppa and Gianmanco will be further involved in the DCO through the Deep Earth Carbon Degassing (DECADE) project.

The photo shows the working conditions at the summit craters. Tefang Lan, a post-doctoral fellow supported by DCO, is seen sampling gases with others, including Bernard Marty, Co-chair of the Reservoirs and Fluxes Community, and Maarten de Moor.

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