Carbon Degassing Special Theme Issue Covers New Ground

A special collection of papers focused on “Carbon Degassing Through Volcanoes and Active Tectonic Regions” brings together discoveries from the DECADE (Deep Earth Carbon Degassing) initiative and includes more comprehensive estimates of carbon degassing, as well as data from new locations.

In 2017, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems invited scientists to submit papers related to the theme, Carbon Degassing Through Volcanoes and Active Tectonic Regions, proposed by DCO’s DECADE initiative. The diverse compilation covers degassing from a range of volcanic regions and also highlights interdisciplinary approaches and new technologies within the field. DCO Reservoirs and Fluxes Community members Tobias Fischer (University of New Mexico, USA), Alessandro Aiuppa (Università degli studi di Palermo, Italy), and Marie Edmonds (University of Cambridge, UK), edited the collection. 

“We wanted to emphasize both volcanoes and tectonic regions because there’s excitement about the use of gas compositions to show changes in volcanic activity,” said Fischer. “There’s also the realization that there is a lot of degassing through tectonic regions that hasn’t been quantified very much.”

One of these tectonic regions is the Ethiopian Rift, where forces are tearing open fissures in the crust and allowing carbon dioxide to escape from the mantle. Jonathan Hunt et al. conducted surveys to estimate the total carbon dioxide emissions from the central and northern parts of the rift. They find that the emissions release a substantial amount of carbon but are highly variable.

Some of the studies focus on new locations that scientists had not previously explored. Yuri Taran et al. report gas emissions from the Kuril Islands, an archipelago that runs between Kamchatka and Japan and includes around 40 active volcanoes. For the first time, they measured sulfur dioxide flux and estimated carbon dioxide flux from the whole Kuril Island arc. 

Other studies made more comprehensive estimates of carbon degassing. In a tremendous effort, Marion Le Voyer et al. measured the carbon dioxide contents from a global collection of 753 glass samples from mid-ocean ridges, where basalt lava wells up to make new sea floor. The researchers discovered that carbon degassing from mid-ocean ridges varies depending on the amount of carbon in the mantle. They also determined the most accurate estimate to date of the total flux of carbon dioxide from mid-ocean ridges.

In an interdisciplinary study by Barbara Ratschbacher, et al., the researchers looked at ancient rocks to reconstruct the transfer of magma from the mantle to volcanic arcs in deep time. They estimated carbon dioxide flux from these arcs, going back hundreds of millions of years, and correlated these estimates with known changes to the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere.

“For me, this collection highlights the cutting edge methodologies gas geochemists are now employing, including the use of drones, satellites, and ground-based sensors,” said Edmonds. 

“This collection has some synthesis, but also new data and discoveries of volcanic degassing in previously unmeasured regions,” said Fischer. “It gives the reader a good idea of what is currently being done with volcanic and tectonic gases in terms of regional and global applications.”

A few of the papers are not yet published, but the collection currently includes the following contributions:

VGAM: Compact and Low Power Mass Spectrometer‐based Instrumentation for Volcanic Gas Monitoring
Gary M. McMurtry, Luis A. Dasilveira, Kim Falinski, Tobias Fischer
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 13 June 2019

Carbon dioxide in geochemically heterogeneous melt inclusions from Mount Etna, Italy
Lois Salem, Marie Edmonds, Rosa Ann Corsaro, John Maclennan
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 03 June 2019 

Noble gas and carbon isotope systematics at the seemingly inactive Ciomadul volcano (Eastern – Central Europe, Romania): evidence for volcanic degassing
Boglárka-Mercedesz Kis, Antonio Caracausi, László Palcsu, Calin Baciu, Artur Ionescu, Istvan Futó, Alessandra Sciarra, Szabolcs Harangi 
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 17 May 2019
Spatial and depth – dependent variations in magma volume addition and addition rates to continental arcs: Application to global CO2 fluxes since 750 Ma 
Barbara C. Ratschbacher, Scott R. Paterson, Tobias P. Fischer
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 09 May 2019

Outgassing of Mantle Volatiles in Compressional Tectonic Regime Away From Volcanism: The Role of Continental Delamination
Antonio Caracausi and Attilio Sulli
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 13 March 2019

Dynamics of Outgassing and Plume Transport Revealed by Proximal Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Measurements at Volcán Villarrica, Chile
Emma J. Liu, Kieran Wood, Emily Mason, Marie Edmonds, Alessandro Aiuppa, Gaetano Giudice, Marcello Bitetto, Vincenzo Francofonte, Steve Burrow, Thomas Richardson, Matthew Watson, Tom D. Pering, Thomas C. Wilkes, Andrew J. S. McGonigle, Gabriela Velasquez, Carlos Melgarejo, Claudia Bucarey
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 28 December 2018

Constraining the Fluid History of a CO2 – H2S Reservoir: Insights From Stable Isotopes, REE, and Fluid Inclusion Microthermometry
Carmen Zwahlen, Cathy Hollis, Michael Lawson, Stephen P. Becker, Adrian Boyce Zheng, Zhou Greg Holland
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 19 December 2018

Carbon Fluxes and Primary Magma CO2 Contents Along the Global Mid‐Ocean Ridge System
Marion Le Voyer, Erik H. Hauri, Elizabeth Cottrell, Katherine A. Kelley, Vincent J. M. Salters, Charles H. Langmuir, David R. Hilton, Peter H. Barry, Evelyn Füri
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 23 November 2018

Gas Emissions From Volcanoes of the Kuril Island Arc (NW Pacific): Geochemistry and Fluxes
Yuri Taran, Mikhail Zelenski, Ilya Chaplygin, Natalia Malik, Robin Campion, Salvatore Inguaggiato, Boris Pokrovsky, Elena Kalacheva, Dmitri Melnikov, Ryunosuke Kazahaya, Tobias Fischer
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 08 May 2018

Tracking Formation of a Lava Lake From Ground and Space: Masaya Volcano (Nicaragua), 2014–2017
Alessandro Aiuppa, J. Maarten de Moor, Santiago Arellano, Diego Coppola, Vincenzo Francofonte, Bo Galle, Gaetano Giudice, Marco Liuzzo, Elvis Mendoza, Armando Saballos, Giancarlo Tamburello, Angelo Battaglia, Marcello Bitetto, Sergio Gurrieri, Marco Laiolo, Andrea Mastrolia, Roberto Moretti
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 22 February 2018

The Magmatic Gas Signature of Pacaya Volcano, With Implications for the Volcanic CO2 Flux From Guatemala
Angelo Battaglia, Marcello Bitetto, Alessandro Aiuppa, Andrea Luca Rizzo, Gustavo Chigna, Matthew Watson, Roberto D'Aleo, Francisco Javier Juárez Cacao, J. Maarten de Moor
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 05 February 2018

A New Sulfur and Carbon Degassing Inventory for the Southern Central American Volcanic Arc: The Importance of Accurate Time – Series Data Sets and Possible Tectonic Processes Responsible for Temporal Variations in Arc‐Scale Volatile Emissions
J. Maarten de Moor, Christopher Kern, Geoffroy Avard, Cyril Muller, Alessandro Aiuppa, Armando Saballos, Martha Ibarra, Peter LaFemina, Marino Protti, Tobias P. Fischer
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 08 November 2017

Spatially Variable CO2 Degassing in the Main Ethiopian Rift: Implications for Magma Storage, Volatile Transport, and Rift – Related Emissions
Jonathan A. Hunt, Amdemichael Zafu, Tamsin A. Mather, David M. Pyle, Peter H. Barry
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 28 September 2017

Main image: Brendan McCormick installing a DECADE Multi-GAS monitoring device at Rabaul Volcano. Image courtesy of Emma Liu.

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