A Thousandth of Volcanic Carbon Dioxide Emissions in the World Come from El Hierro

A Thousandth of Volcanic Carbon Dioxide Emissions in the World Come from El Hierro

The underwater volcano of El Hierro emits 0.1% of the flow of volcanic CO2 worldwide. The dispersion of this gas has increased acidity in the nearby sea.

SPAIN – A thousandth of volcanic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are emitted by the underwater volcano of El Hierro, according to a study by the University of Las Palmas, the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) and the US agency NOAA.

The underwater volcano eruption that occurred in October 2011, 1.8 kilometers south of the island of El Hierro, generated very severe changes in the physicochemical properties of water around the area.  Once the submarine volcano stopped emitting lava in March 2012, entered a phase of degassing where significant amounts of CO2 affected the composition of the water.

According to the study published in Scientific Reports, the dispersion of this gas mainly affects the marine environment causing a 20% increase in acidity of seawater surrounding the volcano.

New methodology

One of the most important results of this study is the implementation of a revolutionary methodology for locating and measuring gas outlets in submarine volcanic environments.

The researchers used two sensors, the ORP (oxidation-reduction) and pH dragging across the slope of the volcano, from its base to a height of 40 meters above it.

With the data obtained, they completed a three-dimensional map that reflects the different zones of the volcano emission and the amount of carbon dioxide released.

The study shows the results obtained during the third season of the Volcano project, in March 2014, on board the ship Angeles Alvariño belonging to the Spanish Institute of Oceanography.

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