Natural liquid carbon dioxide is produced commercially from a 2.5-km-deep well near the 4,500-yr-old maar volcano, Mount Gambier, South Australia. The carbon dioxide has accumulated in a dome that is located on the extension of a linear chain of volcanic activity. A magmatic origin for the fluid is suggested by the geological setting, ??13CPDB of -4.0???, for the CO2 (where PDB represents the carbon-isotope standard), and a relatively high 3He component of the contained helium and high 3He/C ratio (6.4 x 10-10). The 3He/ 4He and He/Ne ratios are 3.0 and > 1,370 times those of air, respectively. The CO2, as collected at the Earth's surface at 29.5 ??C and 75 bar, expands more than 300-fold to form a gas at 1 atm and 22 ??C. We suggest that liquid CO2 or high-density CO2 fluid (the critical point is 31.1 ??C, 73.9 bar) of volcanic origin that expands explosively from shallow levels in the Earth's crust may be a major contributor to 'phreatic' volcanic eruptions and maar formation. Less violent release of magmatic CO2 into crater lakes may cause gas bursts with equally disastrous consequences such as occurred at Lake Nyos, Cameroon, in August 1986. ?? 1987 Nature Publishing Group.
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Liquid carbon dioxide of magmatic origin and its role in volcanic eruptions