Mercury fluxes from volcanic and geothermal sources: an update
Sonke, J. E.
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We review the state of knowledge on global volcanogenic Hg emissions to the atmosphere and present new data from seven active volcanoes (Poa´s, Rinco´n de la Vieja, Turrialba, Aso, Mutnovsky, Gorely and Etna) and two geothermal fields (Las Pailas and Las Hornillas). The variability of Hg contents (c. 4–125 ng m23) measured in gaseous emissions reflects the dynamic nature of volcanic plumes, where the abundances of volatiles are determined by the physical nature of degassing and variable air dilution. Based on our dataset and previous work, we propose that an average Hg/SO2 plume mass ratio of c. 7.8 × 10-6 (+1.5 × 10-6; 1 SE, n= 13) is best representative of open-conduit quiescent degassing. Taking into account the uncertainty in global SO2 emissions, we infer a global volcanic Hg flux from persistent degassing of c. 76+30 t a-1. Our data are derived from active volcanoes during non-eruptive periods and we do not have any direct constraint on the Hg flux during periods of elevated SO2 flux associated with large-scale effusive or explosive eruptions. This suggests that the time-averaged Hg flux from these volcanoes is even larger if the eruptive contribution is considered. Conversely, closed-conduit degassing and geothermal emissions contribute modest amounts of Hg.
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