UCL Volcano CO2 Group
The Volcanic CO2 group is a multi-disciplinary group aiming to investigate volcanic degassing from small-scale processes of magmatic pathways, to larger field and satellite observations of global fluxes. The distribution of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere can be monitored in real time by satellites with increasing precision as technology develops, such that smaller anthropogenic and natural sources contributed to the atmosphere may soon be measured. As one of the three most abundant gases generated by volcanoes, CO2 flux from volcanic centres is poorly constrained. This reflects the difficulty in measuring the amount of CO2 in a volcanic plume against that already present in the atmosphere and the small number of volcanoes which are constantly monitored.
Figure showing the location of the volcanoes to be studied. Map altered from Google Maps. Click here for larger version.
Annual flux estimates, which are extrapolated from measurements made
from a few continental volcanoes, suggest the global volcanic flux of CO2
is 100 – 200 Tg (100 - 200 million tonnes). However, major eruptions can often yield equal or greater
fluxes of CO2 in a single event e.g. Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991
estimated to have generated 160 Tg CO2. Similarly it is apparent
that single volcanic centres on Earth can produce up to a quarter of this
annual budget within a year for example Mount Etna, Nyiragongo and Ambyrm are
all thought to yield in the order of 5 – 25 Tg CO2.
The Volcanic CO2 Group is made up of scientists from University College London, Cambridge University, Oxford University, Leicester University, Sheffield University and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory with expertise in the field of experimental mineralogy, field geology, laser physics and remote sensing.