Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande is one of the degassing areas of Fogo, a trachytic central volcano located at São Miguel Island (Azores archipelago). Recently, new steam emissions, soil CO2 and temperature anomalies developed towards the inhabited area, causing high indoor CO2 values and affecting the vegetation and several small animals that were found dead in depressions and low-ventilated zones. During July–August 2021, a soil CO2 flux survey was carried out on the north flank of the volcano, estimating a soil gas release of at least 40 t d−1 (excluding the contribution of the fumaroles) over an area of ∼0.27 km2. Two populations for the CO2 released were found, highlighting the biogenic and volcanic-hydrothermal origins. General NW-SE diffuse degassing structures (DDS) were identified, in agreement with the tectonic lineaments previously recognized in the area. In this regard, we investigated the passive gas dispersion in the atmosphere at Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande performing a model validation aimed to estimate the fumarolic gas flux at source and the potential hazard for human and animal lives posed by CO2. Numerical simulations were carried out with the DISGAS-2.3, a 3D Eulerian advection-diffusion model, and the relative outputs processed through the VIGIL-1.3 workflow able to provide probabilistic long-term CO2 concentration maps, considering a meteorological variability over the last 30 years (1991–2020) taken from the ECMWF ERA5 reanalysis dataset. A best-fit between observed and simulated CO2 concentrations allowed us to estimate the total gas flux of the area (∼209 t d−1) obtained by scaling the soil CO2 gas flux by a factor 30. Such an estimate is composed of ∼174 t d−1 as unknown fumarolic and ∼ 35 td−1 as diffuse contribution, in a good agreement with measurements. Although the present-day CO2 concentration at 0.3 m height cannot be considered to raise serious concerns for human health, we reasonably infer that the death of small animals may be due to local conditions of CO2 accumulation or to the presence of H2S. The current study highlights the relevance of coupling gas flux maps, concentration data, and gas dispersion modeling to obtain robust estimation of gas fluxes, including the fumarolic contribution, and identify zones potentially impacted by dangerous concentrations of volcanic gases, which are relevant for land-use planning and hazard assessment in case of renewed escalations of volcanic activity.

Quantification of CO2 degassing and atmospheric dispersion at Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande (São Miguel Island, Azores)

Massaro S.
Methodology
;
Stocchi M.
Methodology
;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande is one of the degassing areas of Fogo, a trachytic central volcano located at São Miguel Island (Azores archipelago). Recently, new steam emissions, soil CO2 and temperature anomalies developed towards the inhabited area, causing high indoor CO2 values and affecting the vegetation and several small animals that were found dead in depressions and low-ventilated zones. During July–August 2021, a soil CO2 flux survey was carried out on the north flank of the volcano, estimating a soil gas release of at least 40 t d−1 (excluding the contribution of the fumaroles) over an area of ∼0.27 km2. Two populations for the CO2 released were found, highlighting the biogenic and volcanic-hydrothermal origins. General NW-SE diffuse degassing structures (DDS) were identified, in agreement with the tectonic lineaments previously recognized in the area. In this regard, we investigated the passive gas dispersion in the atmosphere at Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande performing a model validation aimed to estimate the fumarolic gas flux at source and the potential hazard for human and animal lives posed by CO2. Numerical simulations were carried out with the DISGAS-2.3, a 3D Eulerian advection-diffusion model, and the relative outputs processed through the VIGIL-1.3 workflow able to provide probabilistic long-term CO2 concentration maps, considering a meteorological variability over the last 30 years (1991–2020) taken from the ECMWF ERA5 reanalysis dataset. A best-fit between observed and simulated CO2 concentrations allowed us to estimate the total gas flux of the area (∼209 t d−1) obtained by scaling the soil CO2 gas flux by a factor 30. Such an estimate is composed of ∼174 t d−1 as unknown fumarolic and ∼ 35 td−1 as diffuse contribution, in a good agreement with measurements. Although the present-day CO2 concentration at 0.3 m height cannot be considered to raise serious concerns for human health, we reasonably infer that the death of small animals may be due to local conditions of CO2 accumulation or to the presence of H2S. The current study highlights the relevance of coupling gas flux maps, concentration data, and gas dispersion modeling to obtain robust estimation of gas fluxes, including the fumarolic contribution, and identify zones potentially impacted by dangerous concentrations of volcanic gases, which are relevant for land-use planning and hazard assessment in case of renewed escalations of volcanic activity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/431083
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