29 June 2020

How do multi-vent volcanoes release gas?

New research presents a novel approach combining ultraviolet cameras and aerial systems.

Multi-vent volcano

Volcanoes release a number of different gases, with the most common being carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and water vapour.

The classic view of a volcano is often one with a single summit vent releasing gases. The reality though is far more complex, with volcanoes such as Stromboli, the target of this research, that have multiple summit vents, which can release different proportions and total amounts of gas.

We therefore require methods that allow us to determine gas fluxes on a vent-by-vent basis. In research published in Nature Communications in June 2020, a team stretching across institutions in the UK and Italy combined ultraviolet cameras for sulphur dioxide measurement with in-plume measurements of gas composition using unoccupied aerial systems. The results highlighted the unique differences between each vent with different gas compositions alongside the different eruptive styles.

In the future it is hoped that this methodology can help contribute to the next advances in volcanic gas science, and builds upon the recent innovations at Sheffield in the development of low-cost volcano technologies.

Written by Dr Tom Pering.